Anna Christie

A subtitled print of the fascinating German-language version of Greta Garbo’s first talkie (1930), shot at the same time and on the same MGM sets as the more familiar English version of the Eugene O’Neill play–a procedure carried out with several other pictures during this period, before dubbing was invented. The German version has a different director (Jacques Feyder instead of Clarence Brown) and a different supporting cast (Hans Junkermann, Theo Ball, and Salka Viertel instead of Charles Bickford, George F. Marion, and Marie Dressler). The film is something of a relic in both versions–with periodic cuts from long shots in sharp focus to close-ups of Garbo in soft focus, and O’Neill’s lifelong obsession with alcoholic male carousers and their suffering, neglected women getting full play. But Garbo is electrifying, and, if memory serves, she may actually be a little tougher and more soulful in the German version. See both versions back-to-back (as you can on Wednesday) and decide for yourself. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, September 3 through 9.

This entry was posted in Featured Texts. Bookmark the permalink.