Readers ask me which silent movie is my all-time favorite. This is it. It’s based on a novel by Jules Verne, an undisputed master of adventure fiction. It stars Ivan Mosjoukine, who flourishes in masculine, intense roles. It borrows the army of Latvia for the battle scenes. Come on, you have to see this!
The plot involves a race across Siberia as the courier of the czar (that would be Michael) has to get a message to the last Russian outpost before it falls to the Tartars. The movie is nearly three hours long but the action never stops and the direction from Victor Tourjansky ranges from clever to brilliant to genius. Oh, and there are juicy roles for the ladies and the heroine is both likable and resourceful.
In short. It’s good. I like it. You will like it. If you get a chance, watch it.
I usually add optional spoilers to Fun Size Reviews but I won’t here. I am trying to build anticipation here! If it works for J.J. Abrams, it can work for Movies Silently.
If it were a dessert it would be: My favorite, of course! And that would be my epic berry trifle, full of cake and cream and custard and alcohol. It starts riots. I have received marriage proposals because of this stuff. Yes, it is that good.
Availability: And herein lies the rub. It’s not. Available, that is. There’s a faded VHS copy that surfaces now and again and the film has been screened at silent movie festivals but there is no DVD or Bluray release. This is a crying shame as there is a beautiful restored print just waiting in France.
What can you do about this? Well, movies don’t get released if there is no market for them. Most of us don’t run film archives or produce silent film releases but we can vote with our wallets. If you like a star and want to see more of their films released, buy their movies from reputable dealers.
In this case, Ivan Mosjoukine is the star in question, specifically dealing with his French period. You can snag the Russian Emigres in Paris box set, grab a copy of The Late Mathias Pascal on Bluray, try out the glorious serial The House of Mystery or, if you are short on cash, rent some of his films via streaming for just a few bucks.
This went on longer than I intended but please, please, please lend your support to this effort. You will be demonstrating that there is a market for Mosjoukine’s films and possibly help get my very favorite silent movie released and that means you get to see it too. Everybody wins!
Here, have some candy: