I have very, very vague memories of watching a Russian version of Anna Karenina years ago—it had been telecast on Doordarshan, with subtitles, and I, probably barely a teenager back then, understood very little of it.
But last year, having finally got around to reading Tolstoy’s novel, I decided I should find a cinematic adaptation to watch. Just to see how a screenwriter might interpret this pretty sprawling work (not as sprawling as War and Peace, but still). I read, in several places, that at least as far as English-language cinema is concerned, the 1935 Anna Karenina, starring Greta Garbo, was considered the best version there is. Despite much searching online, I couldn’t find a copy of it (the ones that were there were dubbed in other languages), but I did find this one, made thirteen years later and starring Vivien Leigh as Anna.
I get the impression, every time I happen to read anything related to Hollywood around Christmastime (or, as the politically correct term these days seems to be, ‘the holidays’), that there’s a plethora of Christmas-themed films churned out every year. From comedies to romances to lots of themes that you wouldn’t think really fitted with what is, at its heart, a religious festival, there’s no dearth of Christmas films.
I’ve seen lots of them too, from heart-warming stories about the essence of Christmas to frothy fluff that uses tropes like strategically hung mistletoe and families coming home for Christmas.
This is the 300th post on this blog. A landmark for me, which I decided to celebrate with a film about 300-something.
The 300 Spartans is based on a real-life incident, the Battle of Thermopylae in about 480 BC, when a handful of Spartan warriors led by King Leonidas, faced up to the invading army of the Persian king Xerxes. The film begins just as the vast armies of Xerxes (David Farrar) are pouring into Greece.