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(aka "Tolstoy's Anna Karenina" )


directed by Julien Duvivier
UK 1948


Producer Alexander Korda was courting the international market in the late '40s, when he launched a series of ambitious productions. The most ambitious film on his slate was Anna Karenina (1948), the eleventh of eighteen big screen versions (not to mention seven television adaptations) of Leo Tolstoy's classic tale of a woman torn between her one great love and her devotion to her son. With Vivien Leigh, still popular thanks to the success of Gone with the Wind (1939), in the title role, the production had built-in appeal. Despite impressive work from the set designer, art director and a sterling performance by Ralph Richardson as Leigh's jilted husband, the movie turned out to be an expensive flop.

The problem was timing, though not, as some suggested, because MGM's classic 1935 interpretation of the story, with Greta Garbo as the doomed wife and mother, was fresh in audiences' minds. At the time, Leigh's interpretation of the role was eagerly anticipated.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


Theatrical Release: 22 January 1948 (UK)

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DVD Review: 20th Century Fox (Cinema Classics Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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20th Century Fox

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:51:52

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.15 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish Dub (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 'Tolstoy: The Man Behind Anna' featurette (30:03)
• 'The Tolstoy Legacy' featurette (6:09)
• Restoration comparison
• Still Gallery (20 black and white posters & stills)

DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
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Chapters 24



Anna Karenina has been filmed many times including twice with Greta Garbo (the first silent was called simply Love), Cranes Are Flying's Tatyana Samojlova and in 1997 with Sophie Marceau. The version reviewed here stars Vivien Leigh and was a UK production produced by Alexander Korda and directed by Julien Duvivier. Complicated history of this production placed it in public domain and we saw multiple public domain releases over the years from the likes of Vidtape, Madacy and some multi-disc sets. Thankfully, in 2007 Fox rescued this title from public domain hell and released a very fine restored version with some choice extras. The video here is pristine, although it has some flickering and a few marks, but overall this is the best this film looked on home video.

Extras include a lengthy featurette and a shorter one on Leo Tolstoy and his legacy. A restoration comparison shows just how much work has been done with the transfer to look like it does in here. Cinema Classics Collection set also includes 2 pages of linear notes and a set of 4 lobby card replications.

Anthony tells us in email: "Yes, the Fox issue is the best the movie has ever looked on video, but mention should be made that it is the cut version. To see the complete film (139 minutes, 134 PAL) one can purchase the all-region, not bad looking, Umbrella Entertainment DVD from Australia." (thanks Anthony!)

 - Gregory Meshman


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20th Century Fox

Region 1 - NTSC

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