Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > British TV > Anna Karenina (1961/BBC DVD)

Anna Karenina (1961/BBC DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: D     Main Program: C+



Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina has its famous versions and its less famous versions worth seeing and going out of your way for.  We first covered the Alexander Korda-produced British version with Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Kieron Moore and Michael Gough, which you can read more about at this link:





Now the 1961 BBC TV version with Claire Bloom and Sean Connery is out on DVD from the BBC vaults and though it is not the ultimate version, it manages to be better than either longer version of the Leigh version.  There is something just less pretentious and believable in this 108 minutes and the chemistry between the leads does not hurt.  There is a leisurely pace that feels more book like that old film style and Connery proves how good he could act even then, one year before his 007 debut in Dr. No.


You can also see the beginnings of what was to be a great golden age of artistic British TV here and though it is not all encompassing versus the book, anyone serious about the book or seeing it enacted realistically should give it a look.


The 1.33 X 1 black and white image is not bad, but not great, with motion blur from whatever video copy they have of what was likely live, kinescoped or videotaped.  If this was a 16mm film (or partial 16mm production), then one wonders if those elements are lost forever, but this is a clean copy and still watchable after you get adjusted.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age, but the sound seems to have been as cleaned as much as possible, but watch for those levels when switching to other audio.  There are no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com