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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The White Devil (1930) Lil Dagover, Betty Amann DVD

The White Devil (1930)
Directed by Alexandre Volkoff. Screenplay by Volkoff, Michel Linsky, based on Hadschi Murat by Leo Tolstoy. With Ivan Mosjoukine, Lil Dagover, Fritz Alberti, Betty Amann, Peter Lorre.

The White Devil is one of the most rousing and action-packed late-era silent films you’ve likely never seen, reuniting the internationally celebrated Russian émigré movie star Ivan Mosjoukine with émigré director Alexandre Volkoff in an UFA adaptation of Hadji Murat, Leo Tolstoy’s posthumously published account of his own experiences as a soldier during the 1851–52 Russian-Caucasian War. (The 2003 edition of To Save and Project featured Volkoff and Mosjoukine’s exhilarating serial La Maison du mystère.)

Caught in a violent struggle between Europeanized Russia and Muslim Chechnya, a valiant and chivalrous Avar warlord rebels against his ruthless leader, Imam Shamil, and then leads a populist revolt against the despotic Czar Nicolai I.

Preserved by the Deutsche Kinemathek, Volkoff’s film features stunning cinematography by Curt Courant (who would later collaborate with Hitchcock, Renoir, Pabst, Ophuls, and Carné), Reimar Kuntze (who shot Berlin: Symphony of a Great City), and Nikolai Toporkoff (who shot Abel Gance’s Napoleon), as well as an ingenious soundtrack of music and effects. Courtesy Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung.

In German; English subtitles. 105 min.

In DVD/CD sleeve, photo label.
Guaranteed, replaced with same title.

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