Last night I watched the 1948 version of the classic Tolstoy novel "Anna Karenina" and was absolutely moved to tears. Such a glorious adaption of an out and out heart wrenching story of love, society, marriage, choices and, one of my favourite topics at the moment, the tender frailty of the human spirit. I chose to borrow this film from my local library because I ADORE Vivien Leigh, but I ended up loving this film as a movie in its own right.
Having said that, Vivien is her thoroughly captivating self, acting with perfect timing and sensitivity to the title character, and mesmerising her audience with her unfathomable beauty. In a review of the earlier Greta Garbo version of the story, it was said that "Garbo herself, (was) perhaps a bit too self-possessed and headstrong, (and) could never represent the character of Anna, a woman carried away on passion, lust and impending tragedy." Certainly Vivien could carry such a role, as her own life showed all the elements of passion, sensitivity and human frailty that epitomised the tragic heroine, Anna Karenina.
The costuming in this film, by Cecil Beaton and set in the late 1800's, is breathtaking, extravagant and stunning. The sets impressive, in places stark, elegant and cold as fits the subject. The supporting actors are astute and, of course, the story is brilliant. This tale has been billed as the greatest love story of all time.
If you are after a beautiful, cosy night in, then chase down a copy of this film. You most certainly wont regret it.
Below are some costume stills from Anna Karenina - I couldn't resist sharing them with you all, they are so divine!
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