Anna Christie - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Anna Christie Reviews

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½ May 20, 2015
Anna Christie is a decent film. It is about a young woman who reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor. Greta Garbo and Charles Bickford give good performances. The screenplay is a little slow in places. Clarence Brown did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the drama and romance.
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.
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.
January 13, 2014
So very dramatic, but Garbo has these touching realistic moments that most stars today can't pull off. The glimpses of the east coast and mannerisms of people so long ago made it a 4-star movie for me.
½ 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.
August 23, 2011
this wasn't a bad film but wasn't great either... Grabo's is the standout in her first talkie...she has two really great scenes at the start and end, but this isn't much to it... if you like grabo or even early sound films to should like this film....
May 9, 2011
One of the most anticipated entrances in film history, Greta Garbo walks into a dump of a bar and orders a Whiskey... "And don't be stingy, baby!" And thus audiences heard her voice for the first time.
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.
½ 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.
December 20, 2010
Garbo is great, but the rest of this is a talkie, stagey snooze.
December 16, 2010
One of the first talkies to come out and the first time Greta Garbo got to speak on camera, Anna Christie remains today as a delightful, vintage classic and showcase for its attractive star‚¶and also gives other actors an ideal chance to showcase their talent.
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!
½ 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!
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.
April 6, 2010
The most famous thing about this movie is that this was the first time Garbo talked in a motion picture. Aside from that 'milestone' (if you want to call it that) this is a movie that doesn't go beyond creaky melodrama, with Garbo trying her best not to fall asleep.

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!"
February 2, 2010
Interesting in that this is Garbo's first Hollywood talkie, in which she famously asks 'Give me a viskey'. Beyond that, the production is quite stagey and stilted, as was common with most of the first sound films. Hard to believe it's based on a play by Eugene O'Neill. Intriguingly, there was also a German version shot at the same time with a different cast around Garbo, in much the same way 'Dracula' was filmed in Spanish and English. Should interest fans of early cinema as a film touchstone more than entertainment.
½ December 9, 2009
There are 2 scenes where Garbo reveals her past. Here she is a dominant force on the screen and plays the part brilliantly. Outside these 2 passages the film was a bit of a let down.
October 26, 2009
"Garbo Talks!" This was Greta Garbo's first talkie, much anticipated as she'd already become a huge star in silent films and audiences wondered if she could make the transition. As it was she did so with ease. The near 16 minute wait for her first line became legendary and worked well for the film. Garbo has great presence in the film and makes it an interesting viewing experience, and some of the character actors in the film are quite memorable, but the actual adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's Pulitzer Prize winning play is a little shaky, the director and production crew seemingly still wet behind the ears with talkies, leaving a lot of awkward long pauses in between the dialogue. Overall it's an uneven effort, doing more justice to Garbo than O'Neill's play, but for its time (1930 is not a good year in film history) it's decent.
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