I feel nothing but contempt and disgust for this film. Not only does it lift its finale from my favorite silent film (Michael Strogoff) but people dash around squeaking about how AMAAAAAZING and creative that Cossacks finale is. No, I will not calm down.
For those of you who don’t care about the plagiarism, you can enjoy John Gilbert kicking and punching Renee Adoree, lots of Oedipal stuff with Ernest Torrence, a dubious grasp of geography and some very fake matte shots. Yippee. Oh and Nils Asther is there, I guess.
Ostensibly based on the novella by Tolstoy, this picture would give the graf some grief, methinks. Screenwriter Frances Marion warned MGM not to attempt it. They should have listened to her.
(John Gilbert fans need not feel any guilt when heckling this picture, he didn’t like it either.)
Read my full-length review here, in which I detail the plagiarism of The Cossacks in obsessive detail.
If it were a desert it would be: Frozen Dairy Dessert. It looks like something you know and love but, oh yeah, IT DOESN’T MELT and it’s disturbing the heck out of me. Make it go away.
Availability: The Cossacks is available on DVD from Warner Archive with a much better Robert Israel score than it deserves. Michael Strogoff is not yet on home video. Yes, I am bitter.
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