AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Anna Christie
Director: Clarence Brown (Dir)
Release Date:   21 Feb 1930
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 22 Jan 1930
Duration (in mins):   92
Duration (in feet):   8,268
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Greta Garbo (Anna)  
    Charles Bickford (Matt)  
    George F. Marion (Chris)  
    Marie Dressler (Marthy)  
    James T. Mack (Johnny, the Harp)  
    Lee Phelps (Larry)  

Summary: 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. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Production Text: Clarence Brown's Production
Distribution Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Director: Clarence Brown (Dir)
Writer: Frances Marion (Adpt)
Photography: William Daniels (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
Film Editor: Hugh Wynn (Film ed)
Costumes: Adrian (Gowns)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
  G. A. Burns (Rec eng)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the play Anna Christie by Eugene O'Neill (New York, 2 Nov 1921).
Authors: Eugene O'Neill

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp. 10/2/1930 dd/mm/yyyy LP1062

Physical Properties: Sd: Western Electric System
  Sd, also Si: also si.
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Prostitution
  Romance
  Sailors
  Swedish Americans
 
Subjects (Minor): Amusement parks
  Barges
  Bars
  Catholics
  Coal
  Crucifixes
  Drunkenness
  Fog
  Irish
  Letters
  Lutheran Church
  New York City
  Oaths
  Rescues
  Superstition
  Storms
  Waterfronts
  Widowers

Note: Actor George F. Marion, who appeared as "Chris," also played the role in the original Broadway production of the play, as well as the 1923 silent film version, which was directed by John Griffith Wray and starred Blanche Sweet and William Russell (see entry above). In addition to the English and German-language versions of the 1930 Anna Christie , 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. 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.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
EHW   15 Feb 1930   p. 28.
Film Daily   9 Feb 1930.   
New York Times   15 Mar 1930   p. 22.
New York Times   6 Jan 1931   p. 25.
New Yorker   22 Mar 1930   pp. 52-53.
Time   3 Mar 1930   p. 28.
Variety   19 Mar 1930   p. 34.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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