During the Revolution Princess Vera, though betrothed to Prince Dimitri, is attracted to the peasant Feodor.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Vera, A Princess
Robert Edeson ...
Prince Nikita
Victor Varconi ...
Prince Dimitri
...
Mariusha, A Gypsy
Theodore Kosloff ...
Stefan, A Blacksmith
Arthur Rankin ...
Vasili - A Boatman
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Storyline

In tsarist Russia, the Volga boatmen live hard lives, trudging along the water's edge as they pull heavy cargoes up and down the river. One day, as Prince Dimitri and his fiancée Princess Vera stop to have their fortunes told at a Tartar camp along the river, they encounter a group of boatmen who are taking a short rest. One of the boatmen, the spirited Feodor, provokes a hostile confrontation with the two aristocrats. Later, when the Revolution breaks out, Feodor becomes a leader in the Red Army, and he again encounters Dimitri and Vera, only this time with much higher stakes. Written by Snow Leopard

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

23 May 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le batelier de la Volga  »

Box Office

Budget:

$497,356 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cecil B. DeMille and cinematographer Arthur C. Miller clashed so frequently that Miller walked off the production and was replaced by J. Peverell Marley. See more »

Connections

Referenced in With Love and Hisses (1927) See more »

Soundtracks

Song of the Volga Boatmen
By Sigmund Spaeth
Harmonized by Carl Deis, c. 1926
'the immortal song that inspired the Cecil B. DeMille motion picture production "The Volga Boatman" with William Boyd and Elinor Fair'
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User Reviews

A movie that remains watchable because it focuses on people not politics.

Even in his early days, DeMille was a technological wizard who applied the credo "more is better" to his movies. In his silent epic, The Volga Boatman, he certainly employed all the cinematic devices available to him to paint a picture of the Bolshevik revolution, not so much on a sweeping political scale, as on a personal level, that of a peasant and a princess.

The imagery in this movie is DeMille at his most visually expressive: the Volga boatmen, the human mules of Russia, in their rags contrasting with the richly dressed aristocrats, particularly Princess Vera whose gowns were designed by Adrian; the clock in the background inexorably ticking away the minutes of Vera's life as she plays the brave aristocrat, defying Feodor, the steely-eyed boatman/Bolshevik leader, not to love her; and the grand ballroom scene where the cream of Russian society dances while Mother Russia convulses in political upheaval.

Imagery conveys meaning in silent movies more so than the dialog, however, the dialog in The Volga Boatman is studded with acerbic lines emphasizing the disparity between classes and adding to the overall atmosphere of cultural inequality. Unfortunately, we only read one of the best lines of dialog ever written. Despite the fact that Bill Boyd's (Feodor's) rich baritone voice was a generous mixture of northern Oklahoma and north Hollywood accents, I enjoy imagining what he could have done with the line: "We've waited 500 years for freedom, you can wait five minutes to die."

As a devoted fan of the movies, particularly movies having some historical content, The Volga Boatman remains a highly appealing and "watchable" film for me because it focuses on timeless human relationships and not the stale political tracts which can be supplanted. In addition, DeMille's technical craftsmanship is most ably demonstrated in the beautiful composition of each scene. Mr. DeMille went on to direct Technicolor extravaganza's but this hand-tinted, silent classic is one that stands out as an example of DeMille at his cinematic best.


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