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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > Russia > Anna Karenina (1948/Fox)

Anna Karenina (1948/Fox)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C



Though 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.


The 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.


The 1.33 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.


This is 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


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