Anna Karenina (1948): Julien Duvivier’s Version of Tolstoy’s Great Novel, Starring Vivien Leigh

French director Julien Duvivier made this British version of the great Russian novel of the same title by Leo Tolstoy, starring Vivien Leigh.

I am partial to the 1935 version at MGM, starring the Divine Garbo, but this remake has its own merits.

Anna Karenina (Leigh) is married to Alexei Karenin (Ralph Richardson), a detached government official in St. Petersburg who is career-drive, neglecting his wife’s needs. Called to Moscow by her brother Stepan Oblonsky, a reprobate unfaithful to his trusting wife Dolly, Anna meets Countess Vronsky on the night train. They discuss their sons, with the Countess showing Anna a photo of her young, handsome son, Count Vronsky (Kieron Moore), a cavalry officer.

This lush remake was produced by Alexander Korda and his company London Films, and distributed in the U.S. by Fox, where it flopped.

The literary screenplay was penned by playwright Jean Anouilh, Duvivier, and Guy Morgan.

At the time, critics were impressed by Henri Alekan’s deep-focus cinematography.

End Note:

I am grateful to TCM, which showed the film on December 21, 2018.