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Directed by Clarence Brown

United States 1935 95 mins. In English

A massive commercial and critical success upon release in 1935, Anna Karenina was, at the time, one of the biggest box-office hits of Greta Garbo’s career. In this lean adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel, Garbo (in her second go as Anna after 1927’s silent) stars as the Russian countess, married to a career diplomat (Basil Rathbone) while yearning for an up-and-coming military officer (Fredric March, dashing). Naturally, this triangle has dire results for the long-suffering star, with her son Sergei caught firmly in the middle of the familial tumult. A masterpiece of staging, the film won Best Foreign Film at Benito Mussolini’s newly-inaugurated Venice Film Festival, and further increased Garbo’s star profile as one whom both women and men would come in equal measure—and in droves—to see.