4,000 soldiers, including cavalrymen, were loaned by the Latvian army to portray the Russian and Tartar armies, and the battles were filmed outside Riga on large plains, which simulated the Siberian steppes. See more »
Due to his advanced age, this German count remembers very well (actually, again because of his many years, perhaps not all that well) the success of the famous novel "Michel Strogoff" written by the French writer Herr Jules Verne some centuries ago.
As every longhaired youngster knows, aristocrats prefer to spend their idle time in trifling matters, so this Herr Von acted consistently and avoided the great effort of reading the book and instead waited for some highly reputable and skilled film director to properly adapt that novel about the courier of the Czar for the silent screen.
And that important silent film adaptation of Herr Verne's "Michel Strogoff" came in the silent year of 1926 thanks to Herr Viktor Tourjansky, who surrounded by a crew of mostly Russian émigrés like himself, made an excellent French-German silent film production. This was a perfect match, that is to say: a Russian crew for a book set in old Russia for a French silent film production of a famous French novel ( obviously the German presence gave weight to the production ).
The film is a lavish big budgeted production, appropriate for such a vigorous novel. The magnificent décors are by Herr Alexandre Lochakoff who with such a Russian name obviously knew very well what he was illustrating and there is also the splendid art direction by Herr Noé Bloch and the great Russian star Ivan Moskoujine as the title character. Some of the battle scenes are set in Latvia and were done with the help of the Latvian army itself (with the permission of the Latvian Minister Of War, natürlich!) and there are also some coloured scenes included in the film that give to the oeuvre a special atmosphere of decadent antiquity, especially in the Russian court sequences. The diversity of cast and crew suggests a Tower of Babel but the mixture of the different elements gives charm and effectiveness to the oeuvre that during it's almost three hours running time maintains the rhythm and interest in what is a splendid classic adventure, very well structured and entertaining.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count is waiting for aristocratic Herr Postman.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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