A five-person team of gold prospectors in the Yukon has just begun to enjoy great success when one of the members snaps, and suddenly kills two of the others. The two survivors, a husband ... See full summary »



, (story "The Unexpected") | 1 more credit »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The film chronicles the adventures of an American, "Mr. West," and his faithful bodyguard and servant Jeddie, as they visit the land of the horrible, evil Bolsheviks. Through various ... See full summary »

Director: Lev Kuleshov
Stars: Porfiri Podobed, Boris Barnet, Aleksandra Khokhlova
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A peasant comes to St. Petersburg to find work. He unwittingly helps in the arrest of an old village friend who is now a labor leader. The unemployed peasant is also arrested and sent to ... See full summary »

Directors: Vsevolod Pudovkin, Mikhail Doller
Stars: Aleksandr Chistyakov, Vera Baranovskaya, Ivan Chuvelyov
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A married couple have a small apartment in Moscow. When an old friend of the husband's arrives in the city, he is unable to find lodgings. Kolia, the husband, invites his friend to move in with them.

Director: Abram Room
Stars: Nikolai Batalov, Lyudmila Semyonova, Leonid Yurenev
Happiness (1935)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A hapless loser (with the surname of Loser) undergoes misadventures with avaracious clergy, a tired horse, and a walking granary (among other things) on his road to collectivized happiness.

Director: Aleksandr Medvedkin
Stars: Pyotr Zinovyev, Yelena Yegorova, Nikolay Cherkasov
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A girl Parasha Pitunova comes to Moscow from a deep province, eventually she arrives at a house. This is a story about the house and its inhabitants.

Director: Boris Barnet
Stars: Vera Maretskaya, Vladimir Fogel, Yelena Tyapkina
The Patriots (1933)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Outskirts is an internationally renowned masterpiece of early sound cinema. In a remote Russian village during World War I, colorful and nuanced characters experience divided loyalties: ... See full summary »

Director: Boris Barnet
Stars: Aleksandr Chistyakov, Sergey Komarov, Yelena Kuzmina
Strike (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A group of oppressed factory workers go on strike in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Grigori Aleksandrov, Maksim Shtraukh, Mikhail Gomorov
Chess Fever (1925)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

With an international chess tournament in progress, a young man becomes completely obsessed with the game. His fiancée has no interest in it, and becomes frustrated and depressed by his ... See full summary »

Directors: Vsevolod Pudovkin, Nikolai Shpikovsky
Stars: José Raúl Capablanca, Vladimir Fogel, Anna Zemtsova
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Natasha and her grandfather live in a cottage near Moscow, making hats for Madame Irène. Madame and her husband have told the housing committee that Natasha rents a room from them; this ... See full summary »

Director: Boris Barnet
Stars: Anna Sten, Vladimir Mikhaylov, Vladimir Fogel
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A WW2 story of a young Austrian soldier running from the Russian army and a woman whom he forces to come along in order to save his wounded mate.

Director: Karel Kachyna
Stars: Iva Janzurová, Jaromír Hanzlík, Ludek Munzar
Earth (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the peaceful countryside, Vassily opposes the rich kulaks over the coming of collective farming.

Director: Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Stars: Stepan Shkurat, Semyon Svashenko, Yuliya Solntseva
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An American heiress seeks the hand of an impoverished German prince.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Victor Janson, Ossi Oswalda, Harry Liedtke


Cast overview:
Aleksandra Khokhlova ...
Sergey Komarov ...
Hans Nelson - her husband
Vladimir Fogel ...
Pyotr Galadzhev ...
Porfiri Podobed ...
Fred Forell ...
Jack - der Irländer


A five-person team of gold prospectors in the Yukon has just begun to enjoy great success when one of the members snaps, and suddenly kills two of the others. The two survivors, a husband and wife, subdue the killer but are then faced with an agonizing dilemma. With no chance of turning him over to the authorities for many weeks, they must decide whether to exact justice themselves or to risk trying to keep him restrained until they can return to civilization. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

yukon | murder | alaska | See All (3) »




See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 December 1926 (Soviet Union)  »

Also Known As:

By the Law  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Featured in Scenes Under the Midnight Sun (1987) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Law-making, like a paper plane in blizzards
2 September 2011 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

You just know from the first handful of images that you are in the presence of a master filmmaker with this; one who understands the multiple planes of seeing, the different perspectives of seeing life around us, the more meaningful life inside, and the cosmic grind of life to which our life is merely pattern, and knows how to align them. Who can then pour universal soul, his, ours, into this cycle that reconciles disparities and unifies vision.

See here. The scene is set; turn-of-the-century Yukon, prospectors with feverish dreams, restless lives clawing at the edges of the known world. What could they humanly discover where no one goes?

The Irish worker hastens back to the campfire to break the good news to his company, everyone rejoices at the prospect of gold and begin dancing; except no one with him, he is left alone, dancing awkwardly a little out of way while tapping his empty food plate - the empty plate, next to the larger where dirt is sifted for gold nuggets. A little further, his dog, excited at the noise and merrymaking, stands at hind legs and eagerly performs his learned trick. How brilliantly Kuleshov conducts all these images, sustains in them each other's metaphor.

This is the very thing. There are many filmmakers who can paint a beautiful sunset or turn story-telling beats with some urgency or suspense, or even give us an intelligent metaphor about these things. But so few can draw a meaningful image that connects itself with what is behind- and gives rise to it; so few who can brilliantly invent, picture the notions that will restore the world from our narrow perspective into its original dimensions.

So, there is this solitary hut in the middle of the blasted, windswept tundra. Nights flutter with rain. Inside is humanity entire; this is how wide Kuleshov sees. The man, the worker who was wronged and wronged back twice harder, the couple who had no time to spare him from their cruelty but will spend so much solemn, dutiful time and effort to bury their dead in the wind and rain. They are both guilty, both probably never having meant to, and they're all waiting for the thaw, the law to come and settle scores.

This is not agitprop like was commissioned from Kuleshov's pupils, Eisenstein and Pudovkin. The worker is not merely the prole, exploited but brave with adversity, his employees are not just the faceless cut-outs of corrupting evil. The figures are rich with ambivalence, they have actual faces equally damned and damnable.

Tensions simmer as they grow paranoid together in the small hut, minds become unhinged. There are some pretty unforgettable images of this, faces and bodies locked in ghastly grimace as though something contorts from inside the soul. Baleful eyes. Again how Kuleshov conducts his metaphors though; outside is constantly pouring hard, and begins to seep inside with the madness.

And then the ice begins to break; these are some of the most breath-taking images in film, certainly the most erudite in silent cinema, exactly because of the cycles they insinuate. It is the mind shattering with the surface of the earth, the universe above. So the three of them are basically growing mad while the world is torn asunder beneath their feet; except it's more than that, it's washed away implying a floating that renews. The overall notion framed in images is so powerful, I had to hold my breath a little as it happened.

The law, or Law equally as good, they've been waiting for never comes of course. So they arbite to decide matters themselves, embodying the law in the absence of it with Bible at hand and a poster of Queen Victoria on the ramshackle wall. This is what is so valiant about the human effort in general, yet also equally misguided. It falls on us - and us alone - to devise the order that will nurture and sustain us.

Oh, the couple devise their order as best they know, fair or not. But the maddening vision is not over, and the end is a bit of a stunner.

If you seek this out, try for the restored FilmMuseum version. It comes with amazing ambient music by Austrian composer Franz Reisecker; sparse techno beats like Plastikman, now dissolving with static hum. It's great stuff.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Po zakonu (1926) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: