17 January 2007 | dbdumonteil
How many French movies from the thirties take place in Russia?More than you'll ever know.Marcel L'Herbier himself made two of them ,almost in a row."Nuits de Feu" was followed by "lA Tragédie Impériale" which dealt with the end of the Romanov family.
"Nuits de Feu" was a Tolstoi novel transferred to the screen.Once again,like in many of those "Russian" flicks ,the French studios were not up to scratch when it came to recreate the atmosphere of Russia before the revolution.We know it's in Russia because we 're told it and because people have Russian names.
"Nuits de Feu" can boast at least a good sequence,"the evening in the gypsies' place" with songs ,dances and the moment when Victor Francen sees his reflection in the mirror.One of the folk tunes we can hear will be used again in the sixties by Gene Raskin when he wrote "Those were the days" which the Beatles' protégée Mary Hopkin took to the top of the charts .The night at the opera is another good moment although it could be any opera in the world.
The plot was not particularly original:Lisa is married to not-so-handsome Fedor;she 's in love with his colleague (both are magistrates)Serge.After a trial,where a similar situation is depicted (in the dregs of society),Fedor feels he is in the way and he disappears.Is it his corpse they recovered in the river?Although they never took the plunge before,Lisa and Serge will have a bad time .It's all the more annoying as the judge tried to seduce Lisa ..REvenge is a dish best eaten cold..
This is passably entertaining melodrama .But the ending is too far-fetched ..