Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Kieron Moore, Hugh Dempster, Mary Kerridge. This lustful adaptation of Tolstoy's brilliant and influential novel stands as one of the finest film versions ever conceived. 1948/b&w/111 min/NR/fullscreen.
Vivien Leigh is a "Scarlett" woman as tragic heroine Anna Karenina, unhappily married to "colossal bore" Alexei (Ralph Richardson), who neglects her to attend to affairs of state. When Anna meets the dashing Count Vronsky (Kieron Moore), she begins an affair of her own that scandalizes St. Petersburg and leads to her ostracization from high-society circles and, in a heartbreaking scene, her beloved son. Pepe Le Moko
director Julien Duvivier's 1948 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's oft-filmed book has stretches that make the film seem as long and cold as a Russian winter night, but the ravishing Leigh as the doomed Anna keeps the fires burning. The "thoughtless and selfish" Anna is a distant relation of the willfull Ms. O'Hara from Gone with the Wind
, although her ultimate comeuppance leaves no hope for "another day." This is a high-minded prestige production (Tolstoy gets his name above the title), but it offers the more simple, old fashioned pleasures of a Hollywood melodrama. --Donald Liebenson