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HISTORY

The 12 May 1923 Motion Picture News announced the acquisition of motion picture rights for Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie by producer Thomas H. Ince. According to the 19 May 1923 Motion Picture News, Ince paid $100,000 for the property. Anna Christie was the first film based on an O’Neill play. Actress Pauline Lord, who played the title character on Broadway, was invited to do a screen-tested, as stated in the 14 Jul 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review. After considering six candidates, Ince chose actress Blanche Sweet. Actor George F. Marion recreated his stage role as “‘Chris’ Christopherson,” while Pauline Lord continued with the cast in London, England. Comedian Chester Conklin was hired to play the character “Tommy,” based on his performance in Greed (1925, see entry), which was still in production at that time. The 11 Aug 1923 Motion Picture News announced the start of principal photography earlier that week. The article credited director John Griffith Wray with set design.
       Months later, the 1 Dec 1923 Motion Picture News reported that the National Board of Review sponsored a screening at the Town Hall theater in New York City on 28 Nov 1923. According to a review in the 6 Dec 1923 Var, Pennsylvania censors ordered twenty-five cuts to the film after the NY screening. In the Dec 1923 Picture-Play, Blanche Sweet opposed such censorship, arguing that the protagonist’s “immorality” is never described in literal terms. Critics commended the picture for its mature content, although several complained that silent ... More Less

The 12 May 1923 Motion Picture News announced the acquisition of motion picture rights for Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie by producer Thomas H. Ince. According to the 19 May 1923 Motion Picture News, Ince paid $100,000 for the property. Anna Christie was the first film based on an O’Neill play. Actress Pauline Lord, who played the title character on Broadway, was invited to do a screen-tested, as stated in the 14 Jul 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review. After considering six candidates, Ince chose actress Blanche Sweet. Actor George F. Marion recreated his stage role as “‘Chris’ Christopherson,” while Pauline Lord continued with the cast in London, England. Comedian Chester Conklin was hired to play the character “Tommy,” based on his performance in Greed (1925, see entry), which was still in production at that time. The 11 Aug 1923 Motion Picture News announced the start of principal photography earlier that week. The article credited director John Griffith Wray with set design.
       Months later, the 1 Dec 1923 Motion Picture News reported that the National Board of Review sponsored a screening at the Town Hall theater in New York City on 28 Nov 1923. According to a review in the 6 Dec 1923 Var, Pennsylvania censors ordered twenty-five cuts to the film after the NY screening. In the Dec 1923 Picture-Play, Blanche Sweet opposed such censorship, arguing that the protagonist’s “immorality” is never described in literal terms. Critics commended the picture for its mature content, although several complained that silent film could not do justice to O’Neill’s words.
       In 1930, M-G-M produced versions, based on the same source, in both English and German and starring Greta Garbo. Garbo was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her work on this picture and her work on Romance (see below). Director Clarence Brown also received an Academy Award nomination for this film and Romance . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Trade Review
14 Jul 1923
p. 286.
Exhibitors Trade Review
4 Aug 1923
p. 422.
Exhibitors Trade Review
15 Sep 1923
p. 715.
Exhibitors Trade Review
15 Dec 1923
p. 35.
Film Daily
25 Nov 1923
p. 9.
Film Daily
14 Dec 1923.
---
Motion Picture
Aug 1923-Jan 1924.
---
Motion Picture News
12 May 1923
p. 2208.
Motion Picture News
19 May 1923
p. 2418.
Motion Picture News
28 Jul 1923
p. 402
Motion Picture News
11 Aug 1923
p. 647.
Motion Picture News
24 Nov 1923
p. 2451.
Motion Picture News
1 Dec 1923
p. 2354.
Motion Picture News
22 Dec 1923
p. 2904.
New York Times
10 Dec 1923
p. 20.
Photoplay
Jan 1924
p. 68.
Picture-Play
Dec 1923
p. 42, 44.
Variety
6 Dec 1923
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Anna Christie by Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (New York, 2 Nov 1921).
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 December 1923
Premiere Information:
New York showing: 28 November 1923
Production Date:
began early August 1923
Copyright Claimant:
Thomas H. Ince
Copyright Date:
26 November 1923
Copyright Number:
LP19652
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
7,631
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Chris Christopherson, an old skipper, is determined to keep his daughter, Anna, away from the sea. Brought up by cousins on a farm in Minnesota, Anna is treated badly by her relatives, and she runs away to Chicago where she soon becomes a streetwalker. Anna visits her father in New York City, hoping he will provide the peace and shelter she needs. The old man, ignorant of her previous life, invites Anna to live on the coal barge he commands. During one trip Anna meets a sailor and, to her father's regret, falls in love. The two men argue Anna's future. Finally, Anna reveals her past life and both men, angry and hurt, leave--to return several days later for a ... +


Chris Christopherson, an old skipper, is determined to keep his daughter, Anna, away from the sea. Brought up by cousins on a farm in Minnesota, Anna is treated badly by her relatives, and she runs away to Chicago where she soon becomes a streetwalker. Anna visits her father in New York City, hoping he will provide the peace and shelter she needs. The old man, ignorant of her previous life, invites Anna to live on the coal barge he commands. During one trip Anna meets a sailor and, to her father's regret, falls in love. The two men argue Anna's future. Finally, Anna reveals her past life and both men, angry and hurt, leave--to return several days later for a reconciliation. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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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.