Ten years of turmoil have passed since the teenage Anastasia and her family (parents, sisters and brother) were presumed to have been killed by Bolshevik revolutionaries. Does the refugee Anna who has turned up in Paris have the bearing, speech, and intimate knowledge of the imperial family that the real grand duchess would have? Or is she merely a recovering amnesiac with a striking resemblance who has been cleverly groomed by the émigré General Bounine (Brynner) to stake a claim to 10 million pounds left by the Tsar in an English bank? In a series of encounters with former familiars and members of the imperial court, Anna begins to display a confidence and style that astonish her skeptical interlocutors, yet retains our sympathy by seeming more interested in recovering her own identity than the imperial bank account. In a climactic meeting with the Empress in Copenhagen, Anna and the Empress take the measure of each other, alternately projecting imperial self-possession and the anguish of family longing. Meanwhile, Bounine has become increasingly jealous of the attentions the fortune-hunting Prince Paul pays to Anna. At a grand ball at which her engagement to Paul is to be announced, the Empress has a private word with Anna/Anastasia, who subsequently elopes with Bounine.
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