★ Beautiful actress Vivien Leigh and co-star Mary Kerridge in a publicity still from the 1948 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel, ‘Anna Karenina’. I finally found the time to sit down and actually watch this film (it has long been on my ‘must see’ list), and I have to say, it was every bit as good as I’d hoped. The story of a married woman’s ill-fated affair with a dashing young military officer, the original 864-page novel is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of fiction ever produced, with Fyodor Dostoyevsky even calling it “flawless”.
While this adaptation isn’t entirely faithful to the source material, I think it can be forgiven – it’s visually gorgeous, the score is superb, and overall the acting is great. But in much the same way she dominated in the role of Scarlett O’Hara in 1939’s epic ‘Gone With the Wind’, this is undeniably Vivien Leigh’s film. She gives an outstanding performance as Anna, exuding a brittle fragility that perfectly embodies the character’s increasingly anxious and emotional state. Her beautifully nuanced acting is reflected in her beautiful appearance. Naturally stunning, 35-year-old Leigh’s delicate beauty is complemented by the elaborate and opulent 1870s style costumes – an era when lace, ruffles and bustles abounded.
If you’re in need of an aesthetically gorgeous, tragi-romantic movie fix, I highly recommend this wonderful film.