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Anna Christie

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Original title
Anna Christie
Running time
89 min.
United States United States
Frances Marion (Play: Eugene O'Neill)
William H. Daniels (B&W)
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Drama | Alcoholism. Prostitution
Synopsis / Plot
GARBO TALKS! the ads proclaimed, and for once the capital letters and exclamation point were warranted. Garbo's talkie debut was one of the last, and most anticipated of the silent screen stars. She was MGM's biggest star...and their biggest worry. The problem was not Garbo's voice, which was deep and pleasant, but her heavy Swedish accent. The studio couldn't risk allowing Garbo to sound ridiculous, so she continued to make silents - seven of them since sound was introduced in 1927 - while production head Irving Thalberg continued to look for just the right vehicle. Finally, Thalberg found a brilliant solution for her first talkie: a film version of Eugene O'Neill's play, Anna Christie.

Anna Christie (1930) had everything: the prestige of being the work of an important playwright; a director whom Garbo trusted, Clarence Brown; and a role that was tailor-made for her. She also had her favorite cinematographer, William Daniels, and the studio's best writer, Frances Marion, to adapt the play. Anna is a Swedish-American streetwalker who arrives at the waterfront looking for her father. Tired and sick at heart, she wants to change her life, and meeting an attractive and decent sailor seems to offer salvation. But how will he react when he learns about her past? George F. Marion, who played Anna's father, Chris, had created the role on the stage and repeated it in the silent film version of Anna Christie (1923). Marie Dressler, a friend of Garbo's, played Marthy, Chris' mistress. And Charles Bickford was a stalwart Matt, the sailor who falls for Anna.
1929: 3 Nominations for Oscar: Best Director, Cinematography, Actress (Garbo)
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