Anna Christie (1930 German-language film)

Anna Christie is a 1930 German-language film adapted from the Eugene O'Neill play of the same title and filmed following the release of the English-language original version of the same adaptation earlier the same year.[1] Both versions feature leading actress Greta Garbo. In the early years of sound films, Hollywood studios produced foreign-language versions of some of their films using the same sets and sometimes the same costumes, with native speakers of the language usually replacing some or all of the original cast. The German-language version of Anna Christie is one of the few that survives.

Anna Christie
(Poster for original English-language version)
Directed byJacques Feyder
Written byWalter Hasenclever
Frances Marion
StarringGreta Garbo
Theo Shall
Hans Junkermann
Salka Viertel
CinematographyWilliam H. Daniels
Edited byFinn Ulback
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
December 2, 1930 (1930-12-02)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageGerman

The film was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at their Culver City, California studio in July and August 1930 (the English-language original had been filmed there in October and November 1929).[2] It premiered in Cologne, Germany on December 2, 1930.[3] Garbo is the only cast member appearing in both versions and looks noticeably different in the two. The German dialog was written by Walter Hasenclever and Frank Reicher, for the most part very closely following Frances Marion's original adaptation. The film was directed by Jacques Feyder using the same cinematographer, Garbo favorite William H. Daniels, but a different crew.[4]

Plot

Chris Christofferson (Hans Junkermann), the alcoholic skipper of a coal barge in New York, receives a letter from his estranged twenty-year-old daughter Anna "Christie" Christofferson (Greta Garbo). She tells him that she'll be leaving Minnesota to stay with him. Chris had left Anna 15 years ago to be raised by relatives who live on a farm in the countryside of St. Paul and has not seen her since.

Anna Christie arrives, an emotionally wounded woman with a dishonorable, hidden past, having worked as a prostitute for two years, after fleeing the farm where she had been greatly overworked and then raped. She moves to the barge to live with her father, who, one night, rescues Matt (Theo Shall) from the sea. Anna and Matt fall in love and she has the best days of her life. However, when Matt proposes marriage, she is reluctant, haunted by her past. Matt insists and compels Anna to tell him the truth.

Cast (in credits order)

Home video

Though the English-language version of Anna Christie has been released numerous times worldwide on DVD, the German version is only available on a subtitled US DVD.[5] The latter was sourced from an inferior print; a much better print without subtitles exists.[6]

Notes

  1. Vieira 2005, pp. 110, 117.
  2. Vieira 2005, pp. 107-109, 117.
  3. Vieira 2005, p. 118.
  4. Paris 1994, p. 570.
  5. "Multiple-Language Version Film Collectors' Guide". Brenton Film.
  6. A brief clip from a superior print with no subtitles can be seen at 0:52:37 in the TCM Garbo documentary included in the 2005 Garbo centennial DVD box set.

References

  • Vieira, Mark A. (2005). Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy. New York: Harry A. Abrams. ISBN 978-0-8109-5897-5.
  • Paris, Barry (1994). Garbo. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-8166-4182-X.
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