Film Classics: Anna Karenina

Figure 1.--This is Sergei in the British 1948 version of 'Anna Karenina'. Segei was charmingly played by Patrick Skipwith. He is not a child actor wwith whom we are faniliar. We do not know of any other films in which he played.

Anna Karenina is a classic novel by the great Russian author Leo Tolstoy. He published it in serial installments in the the Russian Messenger (1873-77). Many 19th century novelists like Dickens and Burnett used this approch to publish their work in the 19th century. The novel was still a relatively new book form. Tolstoy himself saw Anna Karenina as his first real novel. It was based on a similar actual incident in Russia. Anna Karenina, a sensitive but unhappy Russian lady. She is locked in a loveless marriage with the older and very proper Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin. Hevis a stiff official in the Russian Government who has little time for frivolity and dalianxces with his beautiful young wife and he has has influence at court. Her husband has little emotional interest in her. While not abusive he is largely devoid of emotion. Anna is bored and lonely at home. Enter the dashing and hotly emotionl Count Bronsky a dashing cavalry officer. Anna falls deeply in love. She has an affairs abnd seeks a divorce. Her outraged husband refuses to grant her a divorce. They both face social repercussions. For her husband it is embarassment. For Anna in an Inperial Russia where women have few legal right it is scandal and ruin. Most importantly she is denined access to her son, Sergri. She separates from her husband and in the scandal loses her son Sergei. Eventually she dramatic throws herself under an on coming train. Critical evaluations vary. Some see it a trifling tear jearker. Other see it as a work of art of the first order, one of the world's great novels. Wharever the artistic assessment, it is a perfect novel for an emotional chick flick. We know of at least three film versions. All follow Tolstoy's basic story line.

Anna Karenina (US, 1935)

The American version was a major production which commanded two film legengends, Federick March and Gretta Garbo. Sergei is played sickingly sweetly by Freddie Bartholomew. For this version they the prioducer chose a well known child starr. Freddie's role seems rather smaltzy. The costuming does not seem quite right.

Anna Karenina - (UK, 1948)

This was the British version of Tolstoy's classic novel. The production was overseen by Alexander Korda for his London Films companty. It was distributed in the United States by 20th Century Fox. The production was directed by Julien Duvivier. Anna is played by Vivien Leigh. For this version the prioducers cjose an unknown child actor. Patrick Skipwith charmingly plays Sergei. He is not a child actor we are familiar with and we do not know of any other films in which he played. I've only seen a small part. Sergei appears in a white, long pants sailor suit. It does seem correct for the time, but more like a turn if the century sailor suit like the ones the Tsarevitch wore. Sergei appears only in short bits.

Anna Karenina - (US, 1985)

This is an American remake, but I haven't seen it yet.


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Created: 9:30 PM 4/13/2011
Last updated: 9:30 PM 4/13/2011