IMDb > The Chess Player (1927)

The Chess Player (1927) More at IMDbPro »Le joueur d'échecs (original title)


Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   180 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Contact:
View company contact information for The Chess Player on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 May 1930 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
In 1776, an inventor conceals a Polish nobleman in his chess-playing automaton, a machine whose fame leads it to the court of the Russian empress. | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
War As Illusion - Masks and Mechanical Dolls See more (6 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Pierre Blanchar ... Boleslas Vorowski
Charles Dullin ... Baron von Kempelen
Édith Jéhanne ... Sophie Novinska
Camille Bert ... Maj. Nicolaieff
Pierre Batcheff ... Prince Serge Oblomoff
Marcelle Charles Dullin ... Catherine II (as Marcelle Charles)
Jackie Monnier ... Wanda (as Jacky Monnier)
Armand Bernard ... Roubenko
Alexiane ... Olga
Pierre Hot ... King Stanislas
Jaime Devesa ... Prince Orloff
Fridette Fatton ... Pola
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pierre Mindaist ... (uncredited)
Albert Préjean ... (uncredited)
Create a character page for: ?

Directed by
Raymond Bernard 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Raymond Bernard 
Henry Dupuis-Mazuel  novel
Henry Dupuis-Mazuel  screenplay
Jean-José Frappa 

Original Music by
Henri Rabaud 
 
Cinematography by
Marc Bujard 
Willy Faktorovitch  (as Willy)
Hemard 
Joseph-Louis Mundwiller 
 
Art Direction by
Jean Perrier 
 
Set Decoration by
Robert Mallet-Stevens 
 
Costume Design by
Eugène Lourié 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jean Hémard .... assistant director
 
Special Effects by
W. Percy Day .... special effects
 
Other crew
Lily Jumel .... production assistant
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Le joueur d'échecs" - France (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
135 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?


FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
War As Illusion - Masks and Mechanical Dolls, 15 January 2003
Author: david melville (dwingrove@qmuc.ac.uk) from Edinburgh, Scotland

Comparable to Abel Gance's Napoleon in its scale and stylistic bravura, this romantic epic about the Polish nobility's 1776 uprising against Catherine the Great differs from the more famous film in its lack of nationalist fervour and Tricolour bombast. Its one 'rousing battle scene' is a pure fantasy, a daydream of its naive heroine as she thumps out a patriotic hymn on her piano. This dream sequence is daringly intercut with the actual battle - a fiasco whose leaders are killed and maimed, bringing no glory to either Russian imperialists or Polish rebels.

In place of Boys Own heroics, director Raymond Bernard conjures up an eerily perverse atmosphere of ETA Hoffman-style Gothic Expressionism. The young hero's 'protector', the Baron von Kempelen, is based on a real-life inventor who stunned the courts of Europe with his life-size mechanical dolls. On the run after his abortive revolution, young Boleslav is disguised by the Baron as a chess-playing robot - not a man, but a mechanical image of one. He finds his true self, not on the battlefield, but in the wholly unreal world of chess. His sister Sophie becomes an icon of Polish liberation, not in person, but as a woven banner. Her forbidden love for a Russian officer is consummated, not in the flesh, but in a portrait he paints of her.

In short, Bernard is a film-maker in thrall to illusion - and to the inherently unreal nature of the cinematic image. At the film's climax, not one but two artificial worlds fight it out for control of the screen. A sumptuous masked ball at the Imperial Court, and the villain's showdown with Baron von Kempelen's army of automatons. History, or so Bernard seems to be saying, is not a fact but an illusion, a masquerade, a war of manufactured images that its leaders manipulate for their own ends. Heroism has nothing to do with it.

David Melville

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (6 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Chess Player (1927)

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Les vampires The Affair of the Necklace The Ninth Day Coup de grâce The Deluge
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb France section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.