10 February 2008 | dbdumonteil
Cast your glass aside....
...in the Russian style !
With "Il Vendicatore" William (Wihelm)Dieterle ,before Robert Siodmak and Fritz Lang,came back to his native Germany.Whereas Siodmak 's back-to-homeland films were depicting his country,both Lang and Dieterle chose exoticism: "der Indische Grabmal" with took place in India for the former,Russia for the latter.A Russian story which sounds more European cum Hollywood than Slavian.An international cast features John Forsythe,Rossanna Schiaffino and Dieterle himself as the villain.
The story looks like a Russian Robin Hood ;the story of a young officer whose father was despoiled of his valuable properties by a wealthy neighbor ;so he becomes the leader of the rebellion of the moujiks spending their life slaving away( shortly before his death,his father told his wicked "friend" : you feed your dogs with boiled beef and fresh eggs and your peasants are starving!!!),and he steals from the rich to give to the poor.
As it often happens,to hear the script writers,the wicker a father is,the nicer the daughter is;and guess whom the tyrant's gorgeous girl will fall in love with? This is an entertaining movie though;the cinematography uses the wide screen with skill .And it's true that the Russians were fond of French private tutors:the last czar is a good example.Forsythe and Schiaffino talk about Bernardin de Saint-Pierre' s "Paul et Virginie" (it's not exact,though,that French people like all this writer's works;actually it's the only one which is really famous,but as the private tutor is an impostor,it makes sense).There's also a timid orgy (in the twenties and thirties ,Abel Gance's , DW Griffith's and Cecil B de Mille's ones were more "vicious" ) A footnote in the career of a great director,it's eminently watchable.