Anastasia (1956, 1997)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Anastasia

Anastasia (1956) from 20th Century Fox
Not Rated. Drama, Royalty, Biography/Historical, Romance
Academy Award: Best Actress

Five Gold Stars

Description (from the film case): For years, rumors abound that only Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II, survived a Bolshevik attack on her family in 1918. Because a huge fortune awaits Anastasia, greedy expatriate Russian General Bounine (Yul Brynner) attempts to groom a beautiful, destitute woman (Ingrid Bergman) to pass for the [Grand Duchess.] The woman becomes so convincing that even the General suspects she really is Anastasia. But in order to escape poverty, she must prove her identity to Anastasia’s grandmother (Helen Hayes) in a story that remains one of the world’s most cherished classics.

Anastasia (1997) from 20th Century Fox
Rated G. Drama, Royalty, Musical, Romance, Comedy, Animated

Four Silver Stars1/2

Description: Well, in the animated version, replace General Bounine with young and daring con man Dimitri, and add Rasputin as the consummate villain.

My thoughts: The 1956 picture is great old-fashioned filmmaking with dynamic actors and dialogue and dramatic music, shown in one-of-a-kind CinemaScope. Bergman’s Oscar for Best Actress was well-earned. The 1997 animated version has a more adventurous feel, a good deal more overt comedy, and an element of fantasy in the addition of the evil (and rather ridiculous) Rasputin. It’s essentially a fairy tale based on history and a movie for dreamers. “Once Upon a December” and “Journey to the Past” are two of my favorite songs in film.

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