Anastasia : The Mystery Of Anna In 1920s Berlin, suicidal asylum patient Anna Anderson (Amy Irving) claims to be Anastasia Romanov, the supposedly dead daughter of the last Czar of Russia, Nicholas II, who was dethroned and murdered by the Communists along with his entire immediate family during the Russian Revolution. She is so convincing in her descriptions of her life on the court and how she escaped the Communist purge that, after leaving the asylum, she slowly gains followers willing to believe her story. However, the surviving members of the Romanov family who now live in exile are not amongst them. This skepticism soon turns into mutual animosity.
A Glittering Television Adaptation
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna was a two-part star studded historical T.V. movie based on the Peter Kurth book, Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson. It keeps up historically pretty much, names are changed etc. But sticks to the real story quite well. Omar Sharif and Claire Bloom do quite well as the Russian royals, Czar Nicholas and Czarina Alexandra. What stuck out in my mind was the all too short portrayals by Rex Harrison and Olivia De Havilland. All in all it was a pretty classy production with some fine acting. I was quite awestruck by the production values when it first aired on NBC in late 1986. Also starring was the fine German actor Jan Niklas who had previously starred in NBC’s other Russian epic “Peter the Great”.
I felt that Part 2 skipped over some important details of Anna Anderson’s trip to America. It’s important to know too, that in 1986 less was known about the Anna Anderson story. Back then it was still not known whether her claim to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia was genuine. By the late 1990’s more was known and Anna Anderson is now reputed to have been a fraud.
Too bad the networks aren’t making fine made-for-television movies like this anymore.