Anna Karenina (1948/Fox)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Film: C
Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina has been
adapted often, we have never covered it in any version or format. Fox has issued a restored version of the
Alexander Korda-produced British version with Vivien Leigh in the title role
and support from Ralph Richardson, Kieron Moore and Michael Gough in supporting
roles, but co-writer/director Julien Duvivier just cannot get this version
going and despite the best efforts of the cast, it does not work.
attempts a Russian accents are a disaster, Leigh tries to pull this off but is
never totally convincing and the production is ambitious down to the costumes
and production design, but this just cannot help looking stuff and stilted, the
kind of adaptation that discourages people from reading books to begin
with. However, it has enough moments for
literature fans and is an interesting failure with its familiar “lover or
societal status” love story choice.
X 1 image has been nicely restored to the best ability of Fox in a way that is
to be commended. Director Of Photography Henri alekan
(Cocteau’s Beauty & The Beast)
delivers some rich black and white cinematography, but even his expertise can
only do so much. The Dolby Digital 2.0 is
available in stereo and mono, featuring a fairly good score by Constant
Lambert. For its age, the sound has been
as cleaned as possible. Extras include a
restoration comparison, stills and two featurettes on the film and book.
the 112 minutes version, as the 139 either was not available or no longer
exists. It is hard to tell if that
footage would have helped, but we may never know.
- Nicholas Sheffo