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Monday, December 13, 2010

Anna Christie (released in 1930) - Starring Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion, and Marie Dressler

Anna Christie is a landmark film where Garbo makes the successful transition from the silent era to the talkies. It is said that the studio had prepared her assiduously to make the change with success, unlike many other stars who failed with sound. MGM coached Garbo so well that even her Swedish accent was completely removed. Additional publicity material with the tag-line “Garbo Talks” generated more interest in this movie. This movie was adapted from a Pulitzer prize winning play by Eugene O'Neill and was also a silent movie staring Blanche Sweet.
Anna Christie was directed by Clarence Brown and starred Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford and George F Marion. This movie was nominated for 3 academy awards including the one for best actress for Greta Garbo.
Garbo is Anna Christie, a waterfront prostitute who comes in search of her father to the barge. Her father had sent her off to a relative's farm and the abuse had forced Anna to run away and become a prostitute. She never forgives her father for abandoning her. Anna enters a saloon where her father's mistress is drinking and gives her first dialogue, the immortal line “Gif me a visky, ginger ale on the side, and don' be stingy, baby." Marthe, the mistress soon deduces her identity and tells her that her father Chris was hoping to see her as a lady and she would have to be one to refrain from hurting him. Anna agrees for the deception and lives with Chris as the dutiful daughter he is so proud off.

Anna and Marthe rescues a drowning sailor Matt and brings him to the barge. Soon an intimacy develops between the two and they even go on a date to Conney island. But Chris, her father disapproves of the relationship because he want her settled with a stable marriage and a house on the land. Anna also has secrets of her own and Marthe urges her to come clean to prevent a confrontation between Matt and Chris. She reveals her sordid life as a prostitute and Matt leaves in disgust. As Anna picks the broken pieces of her life she finds Matt waiting for her. He tells her that mistakes were made in the past by both of them and he is happy to be the first one to claim her love. The film ends in a happy note with a grand reunion.
The mystique of this film is all the more increased, as it is one of the last movies that Garbo posed for and promoted. She had her last photograph shot with the Maharajah of Kapurthala before retiring from public life. This movie was a monster hit of the year and also won accolades for Garbo's seamless transition and sound. It was also adapted in to the German Language and proved successful in the European markets. It also was made in to the silent version too, to cover more theaters. I would like to add that the secret allure of the movie is Garbo itself. See it for the amazing histrionics of the wonderful Greta Garbo

Anna Christie (released in 1930) - Starring Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion, and Marie Dressler

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