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
From allmovie: Filmed in 1937 (in fact: 1936), the Russian film “Without Dowry” was released in America in 1946, one year after the death of its director, Yakov Protazanov. Produced on a far-less epic scale than most Protazanov films, this is a merciless satire of the Russian dowry system in particular and the Czarist regime in general. The heroine (Nina Alisova) is promised in marriage to a bureaucrat (Victor Balikhin), who is interested only in receiving the girl’s dowry. Maintaining a gently comic tone throughout most of the proceedings, the story dovetails almost imperceptibly into tragedy. The musical score is based upon Tchaikovsky’s 5th, with a few Russian folk songs woven in.
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.
From his early silent works, the great Russian film director, Herr Yakov Protazanov, made literary adaptations from equally great Russian writers, as is the case with “Chiny I Lyudi” ( Ranks And People ) (1929) in which three short stories by Chekhov, “Anna On The Neck”, “Death Of A Petty Official” and “Chameleon” were assembled for the silent screen.
“Anna On The Neck” tells the story the young and beautiful Anna (Mariya Strelkova ) who has just married an old but rich civil servant. Anna thinks her marriage will rescue her father and her two brothers from a miserable life of poverty. Anna becomes disenchanted fast when her rich husband turns out to be an avaricious and severe man. Anna’s sad life changes when she attends a posh ball and every man there, including the mayor, is charmed by her. Anna’s husband hopes to get business advantages through this but Anna is thinking of revenge. Continue reading
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