Anna Karenina

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feaito

Re: Anna Karenina

Post by feaito »

March was almost 8 years older than Garbo, but Garbo did not look younger than him, they looked around the same age. Kieron Moore did looked younger than Vivien Leigh -and that was an asset for his casting in the role- but not the 11 years younger he was in real life in relation to her.

Reading Lawrence J. Quirk's notes on Garbo's "Anna Karenina" in his book about Fredric March's films, I came across this statement with which I completely agree, especially the underlined segment:
Anna Karenina was made again in 1948 with Vivien Leigh, but it was not as successful, though the 1948 version contained plot elucidations and psychological nuances not present in the 1935 version.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Garbo didn't seem to age through the thirties, she seemed 30 the entire way through.

Vivien doesn't look any older than when she made GWTW but by A Streetcar Named Desire, time had caught up with her.
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phil noir
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by phil noir »

I read this thread back in 2009 with interest and added the Duvivier-Leigh version to my rental list. And now I've watched it. It's remarkable how people can watch the same film and come out with such different opinions. I have to say I was extremely disappointed in it. I thought Vivien Leigh was wholly inadequate as Anna: the small vocal range, the strangulated British accent, the often mask-like facial expressions... It seemed one of those performances where all the effort has gone into wearing the clothes and being well-spoken. Only her slightly haggard beauty - which doesn't personally appeal to me - seemed right for the role. A critic at the time said something like 'Leigh is lashed about by the tremendous role of Anna like a pussy cat with a tiger by the tail'; and I think there's something in that...

Apart from her, the sets, costumes and photography were impressive. And really, that's all I can say. Ralph Richardson was okay; Kieron Moore wasn't, and looked and sounded a little like George Cole, and although I like Cole as a character actor, he's not who I think of as Vronsky.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by charliechaplinfan »

It is funny how we see different things. I watched this years ago and read the book, Anna does look like Vivien Leigh of that I'm quite certain, the look and costumes too were as I imagined. I think there has never been a version that is as good as the book, the last version I tried to watch was awful I think it was a Channel 4 version and starred Anna Mcrory as Anna. There has been countless versions. Perhaps Tolstoy's Anna is written in such a way that she'll never be properly be brought to the screen. I'm sure though that film and television companies will continue to try.

This got me to thinking, has the story ever been retold in another age, the plot used but transplanted somewhere else? It's the kind of plagarism Hollywood was keen on.
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MichiganJ
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by MichiganJ »

charliechaplinfan wrote:This got me to thinking, has the story ever been retold in another age, the plot used but transplanted somewhere else?
There's Garbo and Gilbert in Love, of course.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Keira Knightley is playing Anna Karenina, my favourite novel, she's so not my Anna although Jude Law as Karenin is interesting casting.
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JackFavell
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by JackFavell »

I suppose I should apologize for the upcoming RANT which I feel got way longer than I had originally intended it to. (Sorry, Keira fans!)

Good grief. I cannot imagine Keira Knightley as Anna. She's so wispy as an actress and has no range or depth.

I watched the end of her Pride and Prejudice the other day because there was nothing else on. I thought I would give her another chance. Her pinched mouth and dull face just bugged me. She was completely out acted by Mathew MacFayden and Rosamund Pike. She is far too girlish and modern to play these classics well. What should be brilliance or grand passion always looks to me like a nice, not-too-bright schoolgirl's attempt at acting. She brings nothing to her roles, except her looks, and so to me, she just seems callow.

I hate to say I also then watched her in a film called The Duchess. What can I say? the costumes and sets caught my eye, and I was trying to cut her some slack, see what was so great about her.

She was marginally better in this film, but she was surrounded by fine actors, for the most part. She was able to work some emotion, but the character was supposed to be far too charming and intelligent for her to handle in the later scenes. The film itself could have been a remake of Marie Antoinette with Norma Shearer and Ty Power. in the early virginal scenes, Knightley is fine, because that's what she always is. The Duchess is later supposed to shine, to captivate all of England, but there are only two scenes where we see this, and they are highly edited. In fact, they boil down to two lines spoken by the actress. I'm sure this is because Knightley is incapable of more than a moment of strength or real charisma. She's just a nice girl who could be a cheerleader or something. In the middle scenes of The Duchess, she looks as if she might faint with the tremendous work involved in transforming herself to a woman of the world, but she is not transformed, she still seems like she is in high school winning prom queen.

I don't think it's her fault, she's been rushed into all these films, and so far, they have worked, because her directors have continually played the youth card, similar to Keanu Reeves being good because he's cast as callow youths. I don't mind him, but don't force me to accept Keanu as Hamlet, or worse, King Lear. Well, I might accept him as Hamlet if the movie was done right.... well you understand I think.

So anyway, I was about to turn away, but Ralph Fiennes held my interest, he was actually fascinating, as was Hayley Atwell, both in very much more nuanced performances than Knightley could muster. And there was Charlotte Rampling! I thought, well, this is actually getting interesting, but Fiennes and Atwell were only there to serve as an excuse to drive Knightley into the arms of Dominic Cooper, who seems just as bland as Knightley. And Rampling was at most, a cameo. And off we go, not following the interesting characters, but following the stupid love story between the lightweights.

I think what most bothers me about these newer 'classic' films llately is that the studio heads think that just because someone is young and British, that automatically makes them a good actor. It's rather insulting. They're so concerned with box office draw that they bowdlerize great novels or stories and put that 'gorgeous young thing' spin on it, disregarding whether the person fits the story or not, or whether the leads have chemistry or not. LOOKS = CHEMISTRY. Well, that isn't true. It seems to be more about 'selling', rather than actually trying to present something of quality, which leads to all sorts of mistakes in presentation. They cut important bits out, and try to add sexiness, or goth it up to appeal to the Twilight crowd. Or add special effects... that'll pack em in! At least ten years ago, if there was a classic being filmed, it was because someone genuinely wanted to tell the story. Now I think it's that they don't have any more ideas.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Wendy, you said it so much better than I did, I didn't have time for a rant last night but it annoys me for all the reasons you've highlighted, I can't understand her appeal at all but granted she has an unusual and pretty face but she looks too contemprorary for these movies and cannot give these great literary characters the depth that they deserve. I suppose part of the reason is that the producers want to bring great texts to a modern audience. She was awful in The Duchess, the book had been on the best seller lists for years and I'm sure the story had more depth to it, what made me stay with it was Ralph Fiennes (a fabulous actor in my mind and as I impress to my children, so much more than Voldermort) and all the supporting cast.

I don't like modern takes on beloved classics, the only one I do like is Far From The Madding Crowd, partly because I like the 60s feel to it which is an era I love and partly because Alan Bates, Terence Stamp and Peter Finch are so well cast from the book, Bathsheba to me is a dark haired beauty although I can't remember how Hardy describes her, I don't see her as Julie Christie but Julie Christie can act and although she looks utterly modern I can believe her as Bathsheba. I do see Keira Knightley as similar to Julie Christie, the English rose, the modern look but Julie Christie could act even if she did look modern in everything she did.
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JackFavell
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by JackFavell »

Yes, I completely agree with you about Julie Christie, the English Rose type, and Far From the Madding Crowd. I love it. That movie transcends through the acting, and also has a bit of something to say about the 60's, more obliquely than most. however, they didn't remake the story to fit the times which I think The Duchess did somewhat, with the comparisons to Princess Diana. It still had nothing to say, and did not seem as if it were produced out of love. I felt that it was just made to capitalize on our fascination with royals and fancy dress. Costumes were very beautiful, and seemed accurate, however.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Anything to do with Royals has a big audience in the UK and even bigger in the US. Keira Knightley puzzles me because she doesn't seem to me to be the kind of woman that would make men go wild with desire or turn heads, I might be wrong, it won't be the first time when a woman assessing another woman's beauty completely misses what is attractive about her to the opposte sex but I do know my hubby is as puzzled as I am.

One royal movie I did enjoy and I felt stuck quite closely to the truth was Young Victoria, thankfully someone else got to play Victoria.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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JackFavell
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by JackFavell »

I liked it too. The leads were tremendously appealing and it had the ring of truth to it. Bright Star I also enjoyed, though it had more of a modern feel to it, I doubt that it's authentic but I still enjoyed it. Becoming Jane was also a flight of fancy but not bad.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I haven't watched those other films, maybe I should.
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JackFavell
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by JackFavell »

I think they aren't as good as Young Victoria. Of the two, Bright Star was the more pleasing, because it is at least possible that it happened that way. Becoming Jane has Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen, and is complete balderdash. But it's fun balderdash!
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Anna Karenina

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I don't think Jane Austen was as blessed as Anne Hathaway in looks. I love Jane Austen and the Brontes and wonder what their lives must have been like in reality. We live quite close to Haworth were the Brontes lived and the Penines seperate our towns, we're lucky to be close to countryside, the countryside near Haworth is moors, it's not difficult to be up there and be transported to Wuthering Heights and the Victorian era. The parsonage were they all grew up and the village has hardly change, it's one of my favourite places to be.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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