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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna... Star of the month - Olivia de Havilland



Amy Irving as Anna, with
Rex Harrison as Cyril and
Olivia de Havilland as the Empress
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna is a 1986 TV mini series (originally broadcast in two parts) starring Amy Irving, Olivia de Havilland, and Jan Niklas along with Omar Sharif, Rex Harrison, Claire Bloom, Susan Lucci and Elke Sommer.


Based on the novel 'The Ridde of Anna Anderson' by Peter Kurth, the film tells the story of Anna Anderson, the most famous of the many impostors who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia following her supposed death


The first thirty minutes of the film tells the story of the Romanov's and the massacre where they are killed, with the rest of Part 1 telling the story of Anna, an inmate in a Berlin asylum who claims she is Anastasia.  Part 2 focuses on Anna's struggle to prove she is Anastasia, as well as the court case she places against the surviving Romanovs to prove she is Anastasia.


Olivia de Havilland is outstanding as Anastasia's grandmother Dowager Empress Maria, and Rex Harrison is perfectly cast as Grand Duke Cyril Romanov. Elke Sommer has an amusing cameo as Isabel Von Hohenstauffen.


Anastasia and Anna Anderson

Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicolas II of Russia and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna. Anatasia, along with her parents and siblings were killed by the Bolshevik secret police on 17 July 1918. Rumours surfaced stating Anastasia had survived the massacre, and following this a number of impostors claimed to be Anastasia.


The real Duchess Anastasia
A woman named Anna Anderson, who was found in an asylum claimed she was Anastasia. Despite the Romanov family denying her claim, she continued to claim she was Anastasia until her death in 1984. 


The real Anna Anderson
When the film was made, it was still not known whether or not Anna Andersen was really Anastasia. In 2007 (after Anna death of Anna), the final missing Romanov corpse (believed to be Anastasia) was found. DNA testing and comparison concluded Anna Anderson was NOT Anastasia. It is now accepted Anna was a Polish factory worker named Franziska Schanzkowska, a woman with a history of mental illness.



Did you know...

  • This was Rex Harrison's final film
  • The was Christian Bale's first film
  • Nastassja Kinski was considered to play the role of Anna

Awards and nominations

  • Golden Globe Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in a series, mini-series or television film (Olivia de Havilland)
  • Golden Globe Award winner for Best Supporting Actor in a series, mini-series or television film (Jan Niklas)
  • Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Mini-Series or Television Film
  • Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress in a series, mini-series or television film (Amy Irving)
  • Primetime Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Costume Design for a mini-series or a special
  • Primetime Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a mini-series or a special (Dramatic Underscore)
  • Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Mini-Series
  • Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a mini-series or movie (Olivia de Havilland)
  • Artios award nomination for Best Casting for a TV mini-series

Closing remarks

Above average television movie, although a little too long. It would have been great to have seen Olivia de Havilland and Rex Harrison appear a little longer, as they both deliver great powerful performances.

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