Anna Christie


1h 29m 1930
Anna Christie

Brief Synopsis

Eugene O'Neill's classic about a romantic prostitute trying to run away from her past.

Photos & Videos

Anna Christie - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Anna Christie - Movie Poster

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Feb 21, 1930
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 22 Jan 1930
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Anna Christie by Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (New York, 2 Nov 1921).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,268ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

When she was a child, Anna Christie's sailor father left her with cruel and abusive relatives on a farm. Leaving the place as a young woman, Anna drifted into prostitution in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father, Chris, now captain of a coal barge based in New York, receives a letter from her indicating that she is coming to New York. Anna has been in a hospital and resents the fact that, over the years, her father has not attempted to locate and help her. Anna finds Chris in a waterfront bar where he has been keeping company with Marthy, an old souse. Although they have not seen each other for many years, Anna and her father eventually reconcile and she takes care of him on the barge. During a trip up the coast, they rescue a young sailor, Matt, who falls in love with Anna. Although she has grown to hate men, she is very attracted to Matt, but is unable to keep her previous life a secret. After she confesses her past to Matt and to her father, Matt leaves her. However, realising that he cannot live without her, Matt returns. Anna swears on his mother's crucifix that she loves only him and they are reunited. Anna is then content with the prospect of becoming Matt's wife and looking after her father.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Feb 21, 1930
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 22 Jan 1930
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Anna Christie by Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (New York, 2 Nov 1921).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,268ft (10 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1930
Greta Garbo

Best Cinematography

1930

Best Director

1930
Clarence Brown

Articles

Anna Christie (1930, English version) - Anna Christie (1930)
Monday, June 15 8:00 am (ET)


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. In fact, MGM's very last silent film was Garbo's The Kiss (1929). 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.

Garbo was delighted with the project, but very nervous. Just before her first sound test, she told a friend, "I feel like an unborn child." Yet, she had a lot of support and encouragement from Brown, and from the warm-hearted Dressler, who not only kept things light on the set, but was also a strong acting partner for Garbo in their scenes together. But would the public buy Garbo in a drab role quite unlike the glamorous characters she'd been playing? And could Garbo handle it?

Anticipation was high, and MGM milked the suspense. Not only was there the GARBO TALKS! ad campaign, but she didn't even make her entrance until 34 minutes into Anna Christie. Garbo enters a saloon, walks to a table, sits down, and finally, FINALLY, utters her first words, the exact first words which Anna speaks in O'Neill's play: "Give me a whisky...ginger ale on the side...and don't be stingy, baby." Audiences cheered when they heard it; so did the critics. Richard Watts, Jr. wrote in the New York Herald Tribune, "Her voice is revealed as a deep, husky contralto that possesses every bit of that fabulous poetic glamour that has made this distant Swedish lady the outstanding actress of the motion picture world." Everyone marveled at the voice, comparing it to wine, velvet, a cello, mahogany...Anita Loos called it a "Swedish foghorn." But they also marveled at her acting. Anna Christie was a hit, and Garbo became an even bigger star in talking films than she had been in silents.

There are actually two versions of Anna Christie. In the early days of talking films, studios looking for the widest possible distribution for their most prestigious productions, sometimes simultaneously made foreign language versions, on the same sets, but with different casts. (This method proved impractical, and studios eventually subtitled or dubbed films.) Garbo starred in a German version of Anna Christie, directed by Belgian director Jacques Feyder, with a different supporting cast and different costumes. Garbo's good friend Salka Viertel played the Marie Dressler role. Viertel would later write the screenplays for several Garbo films, including Queen Christina (1933).

Director: Clarence Brown
Producer: Paul Bern (uncredited), Clarence Brown
Screenplay: Frances Marion, from the play by Eugene O'Neill
Editor: Hugh Wynn
Cinematography: William H. Daniels
Costume Design: Adrian
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Principal Cast: Greta Garbo (Anna Christie), Charles Bickford (Matt Burke), George F. Marion (Chris Christofferson), Marie Dressler (Marthy Owens), James T. Mack (Johnny the Harp), Lee Phelps (Larry the Bartender).
BW-90m. Closed Captioning.

by Margarita Landazuri
Anna Christie (1930, English Version) - Anna Christie (1930) 
Monday, June 15  8:00 Am (Et)

Anna Christie (1930, English version) - Anna Christie (1930) Monday, June 15 8:00 am (ET)

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. In fact, MGM's very last silent film was Garbo's The Kiss (1929). 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. Garbo was delighted with the project, but very nervous. Just before her first sound test, she told a friend, "I feel like an unborn child." Yet, she had a lot of support and encouragement from Brown, and from the warm-hearted Dressler, who not only kept things light on the set, but was also a strong acting partner for Garbo in their scenes together. But would the public buy Garbo in a drab role quite unlike the glamorous characters she'd been playing? And could Garbo handle it? Anticipation was high, and MGM milked the suspense. Not only was there the GARBO TALKS! ad campaign, but she didn't even make her entrance until 34 minutes into Anna Christie. Garbo enters a saloon, walks to a table, sits down, and finally, FINALLY, utters her first words, the exact first words which Anna speaks in O'Neill's play: "Give me a whisky...ginger ale on the side...and don't be stingy, baby." Audiences cheered when they heard it; so did the critics. Richard Watts, Jr. wrote in the New York Herald Tribune, "Her voice is revealed as a deep, husky contralto that possesses every bit of that fabulous poetic glamour that has made this distant Swedish lady the outstanding actress of the motion picture world." Everyone marveled at the voice, comparing it to wine, velvet, a cello, mahogany...Anita Loos called it a "Swedish foghorn." But they also marveled at her acting. Anna Christie was a hit, and Garbo became an even bigger star in talking films than she had been in silents. There are actually two versions of Anna Christie. In the early days of talking films, studios looking for the widest possible distribution for their most prestigious productions, sometimes simultaneously made foreign language versions, on the same sets, but with different casts. (This method proved impractical, and studios eventually subtitled or dubbed films.) Garbo starred in a German version of Anna Christie, directed by Belgian director Jacques Feyder, with a different supporting cast and different costumes. Garbo's good friend Salka Viertel played the Marie Dressler role. Viertel would later write the screenplays for several Garbo films, including Queen Christina (1933). Director: Clarence Brown Producer: Paul Bern (uncredited), Clarence Brown Screenplay: Frances Marion, from the play by Eugene O'Neill Editor: Hugh Wynn Cinematography: William H. Daniels Costume Design: Adrian Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons Principal Cast: Greta Garbo (Anna Christie), Charles Bickford (Matt Burke), George F. Marion (Chris Christofferson), Marie Dressler (Marthy Owens), James T. Mack (Johnny the Harp), Lee Phelps (Larry the Bartender). BW-90m. Closed Captioning. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Gif me a visky, ginger ale on the side, and don' be stingy, baby.
- Anna Christie

Trivia

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill's play, "Anna Christie," opened in New York in 1922, with George F. Marion originating the role of Anna's father. He also starred in the 1923 silent version of the play.

Notes

In addition to the English and German-language versions of this film, a silent version, with titles by Madeleine Ruthven, was also made. Anna Christie was Greta Garbo's first talking picture. In the restored and subtitled German version, the scene in which Anna swears on the crucifix is missing, although it is included in the cutting continuity of the German version. In papers of Edgar G. Ulmer at the AMPAS Library, Ulmer states that he directed the German version. In addition, an affidavit by Fritz Feld testifies to this statement; however, Jacques Feyder is listed as director in the onscreen credits. Actress Salka Steuermann, who appears in the German version, was also known as Salka Stearman and Salka Viertel. In 1923, John Griffith Wray directed an earlier version, which starred Blanche Sweet, William Russell and George F. Marion.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1930

Released in United States 1930