Oscar: Best Actress–Bergman, Ingrid in Anastasia (1956)

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After being blacklisted (due to her desertion of husband Petter Lindstrom and their daughter Pia and subsequent affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini), Ingrid Bergman received her second Best Actress Oscar for her big comeback Hollywood performance. Bergman plays the title role, an amnesiac refugee chosen by scheming conman (Yul Brynner) as the woman to be passed off as the last surviving daughter of Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia.

Ingrid Bergman had received her first Best Actress Oscar in 1944 for George Cukor’s psychological thriller, “Gaslight,” amd she woud receive a third Oscar, alebit in the supporting category, in 1973 for “Murder on the Orient Express.”

In 1956, Bergman competed for the Best Actress with Carroll Baker in “Baby Doll,” Katharine Hepburn in “The Rainmaker,” Nancy Kelly in “The Bad seed,”  and Deborah Kerr in “The King and I.”

Up to a point, Anatole Litvak’s picture blends skillfully mystery, romance, and melodramaHollywood style. In Arthur Laurents’ script, based on a popular play by Marcelle Maurette and Guy Bolton, Russian exiles in Paris conspire to present someone as Anastasia, the daughter of Czar Nicholas in order to collect the 10 million pounds held in her name by the Bank of England.

General Bounine (Brynner, credibly looking and acting) finds a destitute girl on the verge of suicide, takes her under his care and grooms her in all of Russian royal ways. In due process, in this Pygmalion-like saga, the more Bounine learns of her, the more he begins to believe that she is the real Anastasia.

Mystery persists up until the end, when she is presented to the Empress (poorly cast Helen Hayes), who will identify her as “true” heiress is a series of test and rituals. By that time, Bounine is in love, and money no longer important.

The international cast also includes Akim Tamiroff as Chernov, Martita Hunt as Baroness von Livenbaum, Sacha Pitoeff as Petrovin, Natalie Schafer as Lissenskaia, and Gregoire Gromoff as Stepan.

Running time: 105 minutes

Oscar Nominations: 2

Actress: Ingrid Bergman Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture: Alfred Newman

Oscar Awards: 1

Actress

Oscar Context

This was Bergman’s second Best Actress Oscar after winning one in 1944 for Cukor’s nourish psychological thriller, “Gaslight.” By that time, audiences were ready and willing to “forgive” Bergman; besides, her marriage to Rossellini was annulled.

In 1956, Yul Brynner’s best year in Hollywood, the actor won the Best Actor Oscar for the musical “The Kind and I.”

Alfred Newman lost the Scoring Oscar to Victor Young, who composed the Oscar-winning adventure, “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Cast:

Anastasia (Ingrid Bergman)

Bounine (Yul Brynner)

Empress (Helen Hayes)

Chernov (Akim Tamirov)

Baroness von Livenbaum (Martita Hunt)

Russian Chamberlain (Felix Aylmer)

Petrovin (Sacha Pitoeff)

Prince Paul (Ivan Desny)

Lissesnkaia 9Natalie Schafer).

Stepan (Gregoire Gromoff)

 

Credits:

 

Running Time: 105 Minutes