Fun Size Review: The Cossacks (1928)

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.)

Me to MGM

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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  1. Keith S.

    Fritzi, there’s someone on Ebay offering Michel Strogoff for sale on dvd; have you any idea where it’s coming from? Your enthusiasm has made me keen to get a copy!

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      If I had my guess, I would say that it’s probably derived from the VHS version transfer that was on YouTube for a while. The VHS was of the Cinematheque Francaise restoration but I think it was never meant for the commercial market. David Shepard was working on an official, quality home video release before his death but I’m not sure how things stand now.

  2. geelw

    Hmmm… I wonder if someone ever did a third version called The Ottomans about the decline of a family run furniture empire? 😉

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