"Anastasia" Is Released

Anastasia is a 1956 20th Century Fox historical drama film directed by Anatole Litvak.

The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Yul Brynner, and Helen Hayes. Supporting players include Akim Tamiroff (who earlier worked with Ingrid Bergman in the film For Whom the Bell Tolls), Martita Hunt (who provides comic relief as a fluttering lady-in-waiting), and, in a small role, Natalie Schafer (familiar to television audiences from her later role on Gilligan's Island).

The film tells the story of a young, confused woman in 1920s France (Ingrid Bergman), who is picked up and influenced by a group of Russian expatriates, led by Yul Brynner, into passing herself off as Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, the daughter of the murdered Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. However, the ultimate test for her is to convince the Dowager Empress, Maria Feodorovna (Helen Hayes), of her authenticity.

Anastasia is adapted from the popular stage play by Marcelle Maurette. The scene is Paris in the early 1920s. Ingrid Bergman plays a would-be suicide who is rescued by Russian expatriate Yul Brynner. Brynner's motives are far from altruistic; together with a group of Russian cohorts, he hopes to pass Bergman off as Princess Anastasia, the daughter of the late Czar Nicholas. If the conspirators are successful, they stand to collect the ten million pounds held in trust for Anastasia in the Bank of England. The biggest obstacle facing Brynner and company is the surviving Romanov empress (Helen Hayes), who must be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bergman is the genuine article. Anastasia represented Ingrid Bergman's return to Hollywood after several years' exile following her "scandalous" affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide