Michael Strogoff (1956) - News Poster

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The Forgotten: "The House of Mystery" (1923)

  • MUBI
Flicker Alley's release 0f The House of Mystery (La maison du mystère) restores to light a major movie serial almost lost forever, and allows us again to appreciate the talents of the White Russian filmmakers who greatly energized French filmmaking in the 1920s. In particular, star Ivan Mosjoukine and director Alexander Volkoff, who would also collaborate on Kean (1924) and Casanova (1927) are approaching the height of their powers.The plot is pure melodrama: a mill owner is framed for murder, escapes from a penal colony, and spends years trying to clear his name, while the real killer woos his wife. But the ten episodes use their extended cumulative running time to explore nuances of character rather than to pile on implausible escapes and battles (though there are a few extremely impressive examples of those). The result is a tale of injustice that grips and satisfies, while displaying a highly sophisticated cinematic sense.
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