Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
United Kingdom, 1948. London Film Productions. Screenplay by Jean Anouilh, Guy Morgan, Julien Duvivier, based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy. Cinematography by Henri Alekan. Produced by Alexander Korda. Music by Constant Lambert. Production Design by Andrej Andrejew. Costume Design by Cecil Beaton. Film Editing by Russell Lloyd.
Vivien Leigh tries but she can’t recapture the glamour and tragedy of the Greta Garbo version. This adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, which like all the film versions concentrates on melodramatic romance and not its social implications, is sumptuously produced but shallow. Leigh is the aristocratic Russian woman who falls in love with a handsome soldier despite already being married to a much older gentleman (Ralph Richardson). She scandalizes her society not by having an affair (de rigeur for her class), but by making a flagrant show of her relationship and eventually abandoning house and home for the rake. None of Hollywood’s adaptations of this story will please fans of the novel, though this one is far ahead of the terrible more recent version with Sophie Marceau.