Emeric Pressburger originally wrote the script in 1937 when producer Alexander Korda was casting around for a project for his wife, Merle Oberon. The intention was that a professional dancer would fill in for Oberon in the dancing scenes. Nothing ever came of it - mainly due to the intervention of the war - and Michael Powell and Pressburger were able to buy the rights for the screenplay back from Korda for £12,000 in 1947. To do this, however, they had to pretend that it was purely for sentimental reasons and not because they wanted to make it into a film. Having worked for Korda before, they both knew that he was a very shrewd businessman and that, if he detected they really wanted the property, he would have raised the price.


Viven Leigh and Ralph Richardson in Anna Karenina (1948), and pictures from the set with Alexander Korda, director Julian Duvivier and, in the lower photo, Orson Welles listens in.

Ralph and Vivien were terrific. But Kieron Moore as Vronsky was way overmatched. Korda wanted Larry as Vronsky, but Larry declined because he was making Hamlet. Can you imagine Ralph and Larry in this?