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Anna Christie is adapted from Eugene O'Neill's play, a piece of gloom about prostitute Anna returning to her seafaring father (George F. Marion) and falling for a sailor (Charles Bickford). The movie's fascination as a Garbo milestone and slice of early-sound Hollywood easily outstrip its actual value as a work of art, for it has not aged especially well. Under the direction of Garbo regular Clarence Brown, the dialogue tends to fall on long, dead pauses and creak with early-sound-era uncertainty. But the print for the DVD release looks very good, and despite her sometimes dodgy approach to English, it's still Garbo--odd, sexy, uncategorizable. The DVD also includes the German-language version, directed by Jacques Feyder, with Garbo and a German cast; the print quality is not as felicitous as the American version but it's an intriguing contrast, and Garbo looks slightly more comfortable in speaking. --Robert Horton
- Includes simultaneously filmed German version (with English subtitles)
Top Customer Reviews
Based on a depressing Eugene O'Neill play, this is an unusual piece for Garbo because she plays a contemporary figure surrounded by 3 character actors in demanding parts. She suffers by comparison. George Marion as her father and Marie Dressler as his mistress create incredibly real people. The scenes with Dressler are wonderful; Garbo, the mistress of underacting, with Dressler, the mistress of overacting, and meeting in the middle with genuine rapport. Charles Bickford as the boorish Irish lover is good too but he has no charisma, no screen magnetism. It is just not convincing that Garbo could fall for him. The film has endless talk, little action, a static camera and a soundtrack which is often hard to understand. Garbo's unease with American slang is obvious with some of her line readings emphasising the wrong words. The story has a poor ending, moving from hysteria to rationalisation in the flick of an eye and with what has gone on before, it is easy to speculate that this motley group have got lots of bad times ahead.
The print of the film is surprisingly good and far superior to other Garbo DVDs of later talkies. The package includes the German version of the film too. It is shorter and darker. Garbo looks more seedy and it is obvious that she is more comfortable with the German language.
The DVD is best purchased as part of one of the Garbo collections because only then will you obtain any extras which will tell you more about the star and the film.
The shortest possible synopsis would be this: Anna Christie admits to her father and fiance-to-be that she 'was in the house'. 'Yes, in that kind of house'. And when they hear this, they all want her to 'beat it'. I wouldn't spoil much by revealing that there actually is a happy ending. It involves a very funny moment, when Anna is making an oath upon the catholic cross, and suddenly admits that she isn't catholic. Poor Matt's eyes at this very moment express all the anguish of pre-modern heterosexual man, who wanted his 'beloved' to be not only virgin, but also an eunuch.
Great fun--as long as you don't treat it too seriously.
Michal Oleszczyk, Tarnowskie Gory, Poland
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great film. As for Garbo, how can you not like her. Here and there her garbled speech is outdone by her mind-blowing other speeches and abilities that put todays... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jonsam Friedman
Overacted and melodramatic and under-lighted. . .
The story in itself is interesting.
However, I think of this movie as of primarily historical interest. Read more
The DVD plays well and the movie is wonderful.It's a very compelling story. Garbo is superb.It is one of her best movies.Published on September 18, 2013 by mjo121