Anna Christie Reviews
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.
Worth it for the history alone, it's also a good little story about shame and honour, love and abandonment. All wrapped into such a simple little package, couldnt be neater.
Taking place primarily on cabins of ships, this one revolves around Anna‚(TM)s return to visit her father whom she has not seen in several years. Both characters have had it rough and have become dependent on alcohol to solve their problems (Anna‚(TM)s career as a prostitute makes her character unstable as ever, needless to say) and her father has experienced just as much turmoil. The two are reunited with sincere gratitude, however, which sets the film off to a more enlightened level. The rest of the film mostly drags, but it is fun to see Anna‚(TM)s journey and the new person she becomes, especially after she finds romance with Charles Bickford.
Those who favor modern films with special effects and high budget cinematography may be let down here as the film is obviously dated, but it is still worth viewing if not just to see how films were done at the time. And imagine how exciting it would be to see people talk on a movie screen for the first time!
Terrific performances also elevate this one to a higher standard, with Marie Dressler (homely but funny) responsible for most of the clever lines. It also is fun to see the old-fashioned styles and experience the cluttered background noise of such an old film. Another version of it was produced in German and features a different supporting cast but the same plot and filming locations. Both versions can be found on the DVD today, so watch each one and decide which one you like better!
A magnificent story and a melodrama masterpiece.
The plot involves Greta Garbo returning to her Father after 15 years abroad. Her father, who is a captain on a barge, is happy to see her, even though she's acting a bit cagey. She soon falls in love with a grizzled seaman, who also notices that something, a barrier if you will, is holding her back.
Anyways, the two fellows don't particularly like each other and soon come to blows over Garbo, when she diffuses the situation by revealing her Big Secret which is no surprise to us, if you've read the video box (damn you MGM!!) Garbo is nothing but arms in this movie, she acts and acts flailing her arms about, and gets grating quickly. The two male leads are alright. Probably the best performance comes from the classic silent actress Marie Dressler, who plays the drunken captain's even drunker girlfriend. What a performance! It's too bad the tagline couldn't have read, "Dressler Talks!"