One of the few pre-Revolution Russian feature films to survive, Father Sergius is an elaborate picturization of a Tolstoy novel. Ivan Mozzhukin plays a young, libertine officer who thinks nothing of committing casual sins while in the service of the Czar. He comes to regret his misdeeds as he grows older, his past debaucheries manifesting themselves in his wizened face and desiccated body. He wanders up and down the countryside, searching for redemption. Director Feodor Protazanov emphasized the high and low points of Mozhukin’s life by filming in the actual palaces and private clubs described by Tolstoy in his novel. The overall theme of corruption in high places automatically resulted in Father Sergius being banned by the Czarist censors, though the film found a more receptive audience once the government passed into the hands of the revolutionaries. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Based on story by Ivan Shmelev.
The movie action starts very close before February democratic revolution in Russia in 1917.
Fate is cruel to waiter of capital city restaurant Skorohodov: his son dies on front, his wife perishes from grief, his daughter is excluded from grammar school because of lack of money to pay tuition.
Skorohodov decides to rent one of rooms in his poor apartment to a decent young man named Sokolin who is working as a courier in war industry committee .
The lodger and a girl fall in love with each other and soon decide to get married.
In meantime the father appoints his daughter as a violiinist in restaurant orchestra.
But rich factory owner Karasev rudely molests young blonde violinist and through blackmail expects to make her his mistress.
The Forty-First, Boris Lavrenyev’s novella, written in only two days, has proven enduringly popular. It tells the story of a young woman snarpshooter fighting with the Reds in Turkestan. She misses her forty-first victim, a handsome White lieutenant, and ends up escorting him, by boat, into captivity across the Aral Sea. A storm, however, strands the two on an island. Sick with pneumonia, the lieutenant is nursed back to health by his Red escort, and the two fall in love. At the last, however, Mariutka shoots him dead when he tries to escape, thus making him “the forty-first.”
Sorok pervyy had been filmed as a silent, from the author’s own script, by Yakov Protazanov in 1927.
Lash of the Czar was one of several English-language titles for the Russian film Belyi Orel. The film was based on The Governor, a play by Leonid Andreyev. V.I. Kachalov plays the governor of a small Russian province who tries to treat the people under his authority with kindness and equanimity. But when a local factory goes on strike, the governor buckles under to pressure from the Czar and orders the wholesale slaughter of the strikers. He pays for this betrayal of his trust with his life — at the hands of a courageous Bolshevik spy. Anna Sten, who in 1934 was brought to the U.S. as Sam Goldwyn’s “answer” to Greta Garbo, appears as the governor’s wife. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Though many casual film fans are of the opinion that the Russian silent cinema began and ended with Montage and Propaganda, several charming romantic comedies and dramas emanated from the Soviet film industry of the 1920s. The Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom tells the tale of a young man who falls in love with the title character (Yulia Solnsteva). She becomes a famous film star, and herself falls in love–not with the hero, but with her cameraman. No one ever gets what he or she truly wants in the story, though they continue to pursue their lost dreams to the bitter end. Revelling in The Unexpected throughout, Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom is capped by an adroit surprise ending. (Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide)
Love’s Berries 1926
The mistress of hairdresser Jean Kovbasyuk throws a baby up to him. Jean decides in any method to be delivered from a “natural” child…Getting a call to the judicial investigator, Kovbasyuk is given up to search a child. A mistress labours for in the court of people’s “justice”. However much it turns out after registration of marriage, that Jean and in actual fact was not the father of child. But lately…
The Diplomatic Pouch 1927
A soviet embassy in England sends to Leningrad (presently Saint Petersburg, Russia) of two diplomatic couriers with diplomatic mail. A political police tries to intercept documents.Couriers perish, but documents of get are to Inspector-England, that passes them on a steamship to Leningrad. A police hears that on the English steamship hide soviet diplomatic mail, but can not intercept it.