Author Topic: Parallels between the John M Karr and Anna Anderson Cases - The Sommersby Factor  (Read 40656 times)

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Offline Annie

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Did any of you see the Richard Gere/Jodie Foster movie "Sommersby"? It was about a man who had been missing in the US Civil War returning home to his wife and kid. (it was based on a French story, I think there was a French movie, too)

Anyway, he came home and his wife welcomed him. But the guy she'd been dating thinking her husband was dead did not believe it was really him- the dog didn't remember him, his shoes were the wrong size, and other things that made him suspicious. It turned out he wasn't really the husband, but a guy pretending to be him to get the wife and the farm. The wife, who had not gotten along with her real husband, welcomed and accepted this handsome stranger.

As it turned out, her real husband had been wanted for murder, and the law caught up with him, put him on trial and wanted him hanged. But those who knew he was really faking told him, all you have to do is prove you are not really Sommersby and you can go free. But his life before he "became" Sommersby had been sad and miserable, and he was thought of as a loser among those who knew him. As "Sommersby" he was loved, by the wife, and the neighbors and friends he helped. So he decided to die as Sommersby and leave a good memory rather than admit he was lying and was the other guy with an embarrassing past.

Okay now the AA connection. I have said that I believe in time AA believed she was AN, but in the beginning she probably didn't, she was trying to become her because she didn't want to be FS. Even FS's family was quoted as saying they 'left her to what she wanted, to be Anastasia." So they didn't want to spoil it for her, or take responsibility for her. FS had a miserable life and no future, but  as Anastasia, even a fake one, she was loved by supporters, always given a place to stay by someone, she had fame and attention and adoration, so she left FS in the past and assumed this more popular persona. In time, her age and mental problems compounded and she really believed herself to be AN (IMO)

« Last Edit: May 30, 2009, 12:52:57 PM by Alixz »

Offline jolie

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Bingo, Annie!

Now I've got to go rent the movie "Sommersby"!

Offline Denise

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Annie, I have always felt that this scenario was what was behind AA's story.  However, I have never put it into words as well as you have here.  The Sommersby analogy is a great one (and a good movie, too!  ;) ).

Denise

rskkiya

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   The question is did the gentleman who pretended to be Sommersby actually realize that he was not him--but simply played along?
  In my opinion Anna A was unable to deal with her own personal traumas and had so disassociated from her "self" that she tried unconciously to become a completely different person...someone with an equally tragic past!



rskkiya

Offline Annie

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Thanks Jolie and Denise:)

Rsskiya- I am sure the guy in the movie knew he was not really Sommersby. I'm not sure when the wife knew it wasn't really her husband.

I think that AA started out really pretending, but did end up believing and feeling she was AN. I'm not sure at what point it happened though.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline Annie

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Also,

Has anyone thought more about how similar the Tchaikowsky/Schankowsky families were? Both "Scions of the old polish nobility"....and the names themselves are very similar...as if AA may have been telling people who she really was the whole time...

If, for fun, you play around with "Felix Schankowsky" and compare it to "Alex Tchaikowsky"...drop the "F" in felix you get "Elix Schankowsky" Put the  "E" in place of the "I" add an "A" to the beginning, drop the "N" in "Schankowsky" change the "SC" at the beginning to "TC" (of course, my spelling may be off) and...there!...you have "Alex(ander) Tchaikowsky"

Does anyone else remember the other names of the Tchaikowsky family?  Not scientific, I know, but what does everyone else think?  


Interesting theory, could be. I was guessing she made up the name "Alexander Tchiakovsky" because Alexander was a very famous common Russian name, and Tchiakovsky was a famous Russian composer (She may have not even known he was of Polish descent, only reaching quickly for a Russian sounding name when asked, just my guess, yours is just as good!) I believe the brother of her ficticious rescuer was "Sergei"

Offline Georgiy

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An interesting theory, but, in the end as the languages are written in different alphabets, not a very likely one, at least not as far as substituting letters is concerned. Substituting sounds however, the names don't sound too dissimilar.

Offline Helen_Azar

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I just want to add that "Sommesby" was actually based on a French book and  film called "The Return of Martin Guerre", try to rent that one too, it is subtitled (I think)...  :D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Thanks Jolie and Denise:)

Rsskiya- I am sure the guy in the movie knew he was not really Sommersby. I'm not sure when the wife knew it wasn't really her husband.

In the movie, the wife knew that he was not really her husband, but she convinced herself that she didn't know - so as not to feel guilty, because she so much wanted him to be... She liked this new guy a lot better than her husband  ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline Annie

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I just want to add that "Sommesby" was actually based on a French book and  film called "The Return of Martin Guierre", try to rent that one too, it is subtitled (I think)...  :D


I had heard that, I put it in my original post, but I didn't know the name. Thanks. Was it supposed to be a true story?

Offline Helen_Azar

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I had heard that, I put it in my original post, but I didn't know the name. Thanks. Was it supposed to be a true story?


I think it was supposed to be based on a true story that took place in the medieval times (if I remember correctly)

Dashkova

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I think it was supposed to be based on a true story that took place in the medieval times (if I remember correctly)



Yes, based on the true (but somewhat embroidered) Martin Guerre story, from which came a movie and a book. Oddly enough the movie came first followed by the book (Natalie Zemon Davis). It does have English subtitles.

The Sommersby version is sort of the same story, but set in the American Civil War and was filmed in Charlotte County, Virginia in the early 90s.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Dashkova »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Yep, The Return of Martin Guerre... Do you know when Martin Guerre lived?

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16th century France, village of Artigat, below the foothills of the Pyrenees.  The imposter was Arnaud du Tihl; the clever young woman in the story was Martin's wife, Bertrande.

Offline Helen_Azar

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16th century France, village of Artigat, below the foothills of the Pyrenees.  The imposter was Arnaud du Tihl; the clever young woman in the story was Martin's wife, Bertrande.


Thanks. That's what I thought, that it was some time in the 1500's. This imposter business goes way back!  ;)

I saw the original French version a long while ago, I remember it was really good, better than the Jody Foster version. I wonder if they have it for rent in the video stores....