Russian stage star Ivan Mosjoukine plays the title role in this far-from-accurate biopic of legendary Italian lover Casanova. The main plot concerns itself with political intrigue, as Casanova travels from Venice to Russia and back again on a variety of “secret missions.” This doesn’t prevent the amorous hero from enjoying the favors of several delectable females. Even Russia’s Catherine the Great (Suzanne Bianchetti) briefly falls under Casanova’s spell. But when all is said and done, it is the lovely Therese (Jenny Jugo) who captures the protagonist’s heart. Highlights include the spectacular Carnival of Venice sequence and the splendiferous scenes within the palace walls of Czarina Catherine. Casanova was truly an international production: It was filmed in France but financed and written by Germans, while its star and director were Russians. The film ran into some curious censorship troubles in the U.S., and as result it was retitled Prince of Adventurers, with the main character rechristened as “Roberto Ferrara”! ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
It begins with a dissolve-montage of Venice, carefully composed views superimposed over a ring of dancing girls, which dissolves to a close-up of Casanova (Mosjoukine) himself. Later, in a scene to stand with the very best in silent cinema, a ring of dancing girls strip, kicking out their clothes, before an audience of noblemen. We see the girl’s bodies in silhouette behind an elaborately carved screen under which the household servants peer. The chiarscuro lighting takes one breath away. Later still, exiled from Venice for practicing the Black Arts and seducing a daughter of one of the Council of Ten (brilliantly lit close-ups), Casanova, bedding down at an inn, removes his beauty spots and, approaching a bedside cross, waves away a ring of women that represent his thoughts. He’s accompanied on his adventure by a blacked up servant boy (used in a comic role reversal with a princess) and returns to Venice as a strolling player who looks like Boy George.
The carnival-at-night sequence, all barges and fireworks and harlequins, is in colour.
1.37GB | 2h 12m | 640×480 | avi