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Anna Karenina

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Anna Karenina
updated 3.30.2001

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Different people with different demeanors watch PBS. Not having read Anna Karenina (now a must-read), and a decided monogamist, I thought the love story of Kitty and Constantine Levin, in the backdrop of general marital shenanigans, was a lovely tale. Especially touching to me was that when Constantine thought he might lose it all - his lovely wife and child in childbirth - Tolstoy wrote how he turned to God. Very cool. I believe it.

I found Alexy Karenin's conduct a bit unbelievable, but not entirely, if he was indeed a loving human caught in an incredible sequence of events. I guess with the ironclad presumption of marriage bans, he allowed Anna, in his kindness to her, to dramatically digress from the path, seeing it as his only kindly choice. I look forward to reading Tolstoy's portrayal of Alexy's personality. Superbly done.

Mike Hofgren
Gainesville, FL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
What a brilliant production of Anna Karenina! It was cast superbly, and its presentation in the two parts (commercial free!) allowed for maximum absorption. I hadn't read the book, but will definitely read it now.

Thank you, PBS, for the best entertainment in my recent memory.

Karen Shahbandi
Sacramento, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Anna Karenina was a wonderfully filmed movie. All of the actors chosen suited their parts so well. Thank you, again, for another terrific Masterpiece production.

Deborah Belis
Artesia, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I loved the story, and now feel that I should read the book. I know it has been around for years, but it is one that I never read or had to read in high school or college. The actors were more than superb, and I marveled at their talent. Most of the cast I had never seen before, either; there were only a couple of faces that I recognized from other Masterpiece Theatre productions. It was worth the full two weeks. I was mesmerized!

Carma Henderson
Ann Arbor, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I really enjoyed watching Anna Karenina. I hope to get a chance to see it again really soon. It was a wonderful film. Anna was a really nice lady, but she didn't know who to choose. She is really pretty.

Colbie Hunter
Houston, TX

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was captivated by Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

I couldn't go get a drink of water or use the bathroom because I was so afraid I would miss a key moment. I enjoyed this adaptation because it included the other relationships, and their differences were paramount to the success of telling this love story.

Kimberly Randolph
Kansas City, MO

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Thanks for one of the best Masterpiece Theatre productions ever! I look forward to reading the book again. Please list the actors in your information about the production. When the credits roll it is hard to catch them. I would like to see more credit given to the actors in this country like they do in England, where every listing includes a list of the actors and the part they play, i.e. The Radio Times.

Ruth Howell
Elmhurst, IL

Be sure to check out the Who's Who and/or Cast and Credits listing at this Web site for each title that airs on Masterpiece Theatre. You'll find a complete roster of actors and crew.

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I am an American of Russian origin, and, obviously, Anna Karenina is a very well-known and admired book we read and re-read. To say the least, we were offended and disgusted by this last interpretation of the Tolstoy masterpiece. I am a French and Russian teacher in one of the Massachusetts public schools, and I recommended that the students in my Russian class see this program, because we speak a lot about Russian history, literature and culture. Now I feel ashamed...

This program showed unforgivable negligence in interpretation of characters, even their physical appearance. Just now, I don't remember the name of the director, but we believe that it was a crime to transform such a literary masterpiece - worshipped by millions of people around the world - into a trashy, cheap, soap-opera-style show. I didn't see a single Russian name as a consultant; probably, the crew believed that this is just a simple romance story, and Anna Karenina, who is supposed to look like a high-class aristocrat, may look like an ugly whore from a bordello! Shame on you! We Russians will never stop loving this book, but it is too bad that thousands of prospective readers will probably never open the book, thinking it to be trash (according to this particular show!).

Elena Rasner
North Andover, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was thoroughly engrossed in the first half of the production. The sets, scenery and costuming were superb. The acting, also, was top notch; however, may I say that the actress portraying Anna just didn't, in my opinion, have the facial appearance that seemed to fit the role, unlike her suitor, Alexey. Possibly, I have been too much remembering the facial quality of the role as elicited by the late Vivien Leigh.

I am a great fan of your quality series, and appreciate your efforts, indeed.

Al Wayne
Chatsworth, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Praise to Masterpiece Theatre for sending us Anna Karenina. The first installment was superb. This is what television is all about but rarely achieves. Thanks a million.

Pat Klussman

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I read Anna Karenina as a junior in college, majoring in Slavic languages. I have seen at least four novel-to-screen productions of Anna Karenina, including the first half of this one. The best one so far has been the series of the 1970s, with Nicola Pagett in the title role. But one mistake was made in that series: for the Russian writing and signs in the production, the SOVIET orthography was used, instead of the Czarist, pre-Revolutionary orthography. I have not seen any signs in this production, but I hope if and when I do, they will be correct with Czarist orthography. The 1935 and 1948 versions did not concentrate enough on Levin.

Henry Peck
South Charleston, OH

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I loved the adaptation of Anna Karenina on Masterpiece Theatre. The actors were able to successfully convey the angst and emotion that riddled Tolstoy's characters. I especially enjoyed the performances by Kitty and Levin, as they were spot-on. My only complaint was the casting of Anna...I thought that the actress chosen should have been a little more sultry and youthful. I can hardly imagine how daunting the task of casting for a great novel must be. Kudos to PBS again!

Timothy Murphy
Boston, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was fairly impressed by the Anna Karenina series. It seems like a good fit with the book, but there hasn't been enough development of Vronsky's initial caddishness. He toys with Anna for a while, and I think that this is fairly important to the understanding of how he gets swept away and how he tries, initially, to resist this. No fault of the superb Kevin McKidd, though. I'm glad to see him finally get some U.S. airplay. He was wonderful in Small Faces, a Scottish film that is often overlooked. I was also glad to see that the Levin and Dolly story was not overshadowed by Anna's. So many film versions virtually leave this important aspect of the book untouched, along with the politics. Overall, I'm fairly impressed.

Allegra Blake
Kalamazoo, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was very much looking forward to Anna Karenina, having viewed the wonderful production back in 1978 (with Nicola Pagett, I believe). However, for much of the two hours, the images were obscure or totally blacked out, so dark was the film. I checked other channels during the performance, and WPBS afterwards, and there was no trouble at all with transmission. Is there any technical reason why some brighter light could not be shed on your broadcast?

Edward Price
Ottawa, ON

Yours is the only comment of it's type that we received. Could the problem have been, perhaps, with your reception and/or television set?

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The first half of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina absolutely took my breath away! I'm a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Russian History as well as film production. I've read the book twice and have seen other film versions of the story, but nothing came close to what Masterpiece Theatre has done with it. I'm so excited, I don't know if I can wait for the second part. The characters...the settings...the story's perfect. Just how I had imagined it. Wonderful!

Bonniejean Hutchison
Madison, WI

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