The plot of this film is too well known and documented to need repeating; that Anna Anderson has been proven an impostor and that the remains of the Princess Anastasia have been found are irrelevant to the enjoyment of this meringue.
I saw this film in the cinema when it was first released and was interested to see whether it has dated. Curiously, not that much. Bergman is as severely beautiful as ever and Brynner is his sculptured, enigmatic self. The supporting characters are as real or unreal now as they were years ago; Helen Hayes' performance is sharp, concise and full whilst Akim Tamiroff is as greasy, irritating and edgy as ever. For me the magnetism between Brynner and Bergman doesn't happen and I don't feel the relationship develops from manipulator/puppet into any grand love affair. That said, the film is an excellent vehicle for the visual charms of both actors and the director is not mean in his presentation of them.
The dialogue sounds a little stilted but speech patterns do change so I can live with that. The musical score is wonderful, capturing the melancholy of Russian folk music and the sweeping grandeur of a Hollywood hidden orchestra - no mean feat! The costumes are, if not historically accurate, at least flattering and pleasing to the eye. They conjure how one imagines a Tsarist to be in Paris after the Revolution; whether it is correct or not is hardly material. This is escapist fiction, after all. It is a wet Sunday afternoon DVD and that is worth having.