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Anna Christie Reviews

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September 13, 2014
The second adaptation of Eugene O'Neil's stage play "Anna Christie" features Greta Garbo in her first talking role, representing her smooth transition from the silent era of films. Garbo is mesmerizing as the broken Anna, hoping against hope at the age of 20 that she will find some piece with the father she hasn't seen in 15 years. He doesn't know what has happened to her, and when he, with his simple ways and misunderstandings, and an overreaching suitor drive her too far, she lays out the truth to them in a heartbreaking climatic scene.

As one of the first talkies, "Anna Christie" is a bit archaic in how it was filmed. On the one hand it looks like a stage play, with cinematic attention to realism. On the other hand, the camera work is very simple, so that the movie often looks like a one-camera sitcom. What really works here is the acting, from Marie Dressler as the older drunk special friend of Anna's father, George Marion as her father, and Charles Bickford as Matt Burke, the Irish sailor that sets up Anna's dilemma. At times the acting (along with the plot) gets melodramatic and histrionic. I especially liked the earliest scenes because Garbo is somewhat restrained and does amazing things with her expressions to convey her history. By the end she is put in a situation that shows her inner steel.

And then the final act begins, which I find problematic in both the original play and here. What Anna must do seems like a betrayal of her character. The entire story is about her being driven to telling the truth about the past, implicating men and their awful ways in the process. Then, quite abruptly, the men who should be apologizing to her are allowed an easy way out. I want to believe that O'Neil was aware of this when he wrote the play, and that the final scene is itself an indictment of men, but I'm not sure that this is the case.

Still, much of the story and the movie are incredible, and Garbo is brilliant. I wonder what a 21st Century version of this story would look like during the final scenes.
August 25, 2014
A young woman who used to be a prostitute finds her estranged father who is a sailor and works for him. Then she falls in love with another sailor. There's really one reason to see this and that's Greta Garbo who plays the title character. She, along with the three main supporting cast, members elevates the material and the often stage-y purely perfunctory direction. There have been better films made with a similar subject before and since. But none of them have Greta Garbo in it though.
May 9, 2014
You can't go very wrong with pre-code cinema. This film is best known as Garbo's first talking role, but it's also a fairly gritty adaptation of O'Neill that doesn't pull it's punches. It's a bit too static, like the filmed play it is, but it's quite enjoyable.
VINCENT
April 22, 2014
Anna christie is perhaps one of the best movies since cinema was born, its stars like greta garbo on her best performance ever,marie dressler (one of the first academy award winners for best actress), the excellent actor charles bickford and the director clarence brown, a well know director on the 20's and 30's. Greta's performance is perhaps the most electrifying ever for a female actress, intense as only the great german born actress could perform, Brown's Anna christie is a masterpiece, a movie full of great performances, specialy that of greta garbo as the alcoholic,strong and delicate Anna.
May 1, 2013
Garbo doesn't need to talk, her face says it all. She acts beautifully, no fancy dresses are needed. An elegance so natural, not practised. Simply wonderful.
November 19, 2012
For Garbo fans and for those interested in Pre-Code movies and in the Silent-Talkie transition. Very interesting movie and memorable scene with the "I vant a visky and ginger ale!" great great greta!
May 6, 2012
Garbo is great, but Marie Dressler stole the thing.
moviesobsessedMilly
July 7, 2008
Garbo doesn't need to talk, her face says it all. She acts beautifully, no fancy dresses are needed. An elegance so natural, not practised. Simply wonderful.
JediAlex
October 6, 2010
I saw the German version of this film; Garbo said that she felt that it was better than the English version. If Garbo said it's the best, it's the best. And indeed, this was a marvelous performance from her. Every movement and subtle expression is almost entrancing. The story is a good one as well - the father and his high expectations of his long-lost daughter. I recommend this one for sure!
vincent
July 14, 2010
Garbo's oscar nominated performance, in his first talkie movie, it was a real and magnetic performance at the time that today is one of the most powerful performances by an actress ever.
A magnificent story and a melodrama masterpiece.
MissGolightly2
July 30, 2009
So this was my introduction to Greta Garbo & obviously the worlds in the 30's. Wonderful pre-code hay's/hollywood film. Greta Garbo's character as 'Anna Christie' is tragically beautiful. Marie Dressler also gives a memorable performance as well.
March 4, 2008
Kind of hard for me to hear, but Greta Garbo is very good in it.
sepio41
October 28, 2008
garbo's sound film debut came with the 1930 adaptation of o'neill's play about a swedish prostitute trying to reform her life. garbo would also film an all german version of this property.
August 4, 2008
its Garbo what more needs to be said
MikeKiddo
July 8, 2008
Uneventful, completely unlikeable characters and lacks any kind of pace, but I'd watch Garbo in anything so I guess it's OK. Marie Dressler was genius too.
MECreviews
September 22, 2006
I did not really like this movie.
PinkyMonroe
November 22, 2007
Great Film! Greta is so beautiful in this film
dietmountaindew
dietmountaindew

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2007
the first garbo sound flick adapted from eugene o'nell's cynical story about a prostitute. garbo plays low-life women in the burgeoning period of her sound stage such as susan leonix: her rise and fall, later she's got more polished into those roles of tragic divine creatures such as camille, mata hari, anna karenia, queen christina and the ballerina in grand hotel...etc....anna christie might reflect the ambivalent gender-ambiguity on the real life garbo with her babbling men-hating remarks. "oh! men! all these men! i hate them! " that concides with the mannish side of garbo that manifests severe grittiness. as the one man who captures her heart emerges, she represses her mannishness into oblivion then she transforms into the affectionate ingenune who yearns for love at any cost that is the pattern of my so called "garbo cinema romances" except garbo's breakthrough into sound with her husky idiocyncratic voice and her innovative presence. the movie's aestheticism is mainly attributed to its elaborated dialogues with the craftmanship of master eugene o'nell, tinted with literature catharsis full of human-concerned pathos toward its characters. of course, the proper casting is also one of major factor which adorns the movie. as garbo utters "gif me a visky, ginger ale on the side, and don' be stingy, baby, " anyone would turn around and drawed by this raw magnetic androgynous voice then observe upon her statuesque facial contour with awe.
June 2, 2007
German version is better than the English, particularly "Marthy."
April 26, 2007
Garbo is just WONDERFUL!!! Love it!
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