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Monday, 11 June 2012

Anna Karenina

Star Birthday - Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone was born in South Africa on 13 June 1892. He began his career as a Shakespearean stage actor, and went on to star in over 70 films. He often portrayed villainous characters. Rathbone is probably most famous for playing Sherlock Holmes in fourteen films and on radio. Rathbone died on 21 July 1967.

For my blog I have chosen Rathbone's role as Greta Garbo's nasty husband in Anna Karenina (1935).

Recommended viewing

Anna Karenina (1935)

Anna Karenina (1935) starring Greta Garbo is the most famous and critically acclaimed film version of the Tolstoy novel. The film co-stars Fredric March, Basil Rathbone and Freddie Bartholomew.

The film tells of Anna Karenina, the wife of an official who falls in love with a military officer while she is on a trip. The indiscreet affair causes the ruin of her marriage, and her ability to see her son.

As usual Garbo is both glamorous and tragic in this film. Her first appearance in the film is magical as she emerges from the train in a cloud of smoke. Garbo received a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress.

Anna's relationship with her son

**Spoiler alert**
At the beginning of the film, Anna misses her son, and says: "My only child. I've never left him before". During their scenes together, the camera frames Anna and Sergei quite close together, to symbolise the mother-son bond they share. Sergei even says to Anna: "When I'm as big as you are, I won't let you travel alone. I'll take you every place." As Anna is saying goodbye to Sergei he tells her, "You know I can't sleep unless you kiss me good night."

Ironically, after her husband refuses to give her a divorce Anna chooses life with her lover over her son. At the end of the film when Anna chooses to throw herself in front of the train, we can't help but wonder who Anna loved more, her love or her son.

Concluding remarks

I have seen this film a few times now, and every time I watch it, I seem to enjoy it more and more. This is one of Garbo's greatest films, and strongly recommend watching this film. 

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