Fun Size Review: The Volga Boatman (1926)

Cecil B. DeMille directs a movie about the Russian Revolution. It’s everything you could possibly hope for. That could  be my entire review.

Boatman: William Boyd

Princess: Elinor Fair

Aristocratic Rival: Victor Varconi

Boyd leads a revolt and revolts the Princess. He saves her life and she falls for him because he is William Boyd. History is trampled but it’s a fun trampling. Plus, the future Hopalong Cassidy as a Bolshevik. Come on!

How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
The Boatman and the Princess patch up their differences, thanks to the very pleasant Bolshevik ruling council, and live happily ever after in the New Russia. (Until the next purge, I suppose.)

Read my full-length review here.

If it were a dessert it would be: White Russian Cake. Not really Russian at all but no one is going to turn down a slice.

Availability: There are dodgy public domain releases but I long for a sparkling Bluray with a rousing score.


  1. R.D. Stock

    I just watched this lively & enjoyable film a few weeks ago, for the third or fourth time. It is beautifully accompanied by “Original 1926 Score Performed by Philip Carli.” Yes, it’s a Kino VHS tape, one that I treasure & an excellent example of why those with videotapes shouldn’t chuck them all out without first determining the availability of satisfactory discs.

    I’ve kept all of my Kino Video “DeMille: the Silent Years” tapes, acquired in he 1990’s. The scores are excellent & the picture quality has remained quite good.

      1. Philip Carli

        That’s very kind of you to rate my work so highly – I did THE VOLGA BOATMAN score an awfully long time ago but had great fun with the film and its full-tilt style. Incidentally, it’s all my own music, save the occasional necessary “borrowing” here and there demanded by the film itself; the original PDC/DeMille cue sheets were usually compiled by Rudolph Berliner and are of mixed quality at best (as are many PDC films not directed by DeMille), so I sometimes look them over, think “well…hmm…”, and just do my own work to serve the film better (at least in my opinion). Thank you again for your generous words.

  2. amycondit

    I always enjoy your writing style, and the films you select! I haven’t seen this De Mille picture before, and have been curious about it. I will look for it the next time it is on TCM.

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