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Loring "Red" Nichols is a cornet-playing country boy who goes to New York in the 1920s full of musical ambition and principles. He gets a job playing in Wil Paradise's band, but quits to ... See full summary »
Barbara Bel Geddes,
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Lukashka is the son of a fierce Cossack chief, but he would rather relax in the woods or flirt with his sweetheart Maryana than go to battle with the neighboring Turks. However, his life changes when he is publicly humiliated by his fellow villagers and rejected by Maryana, who regard him as a coward. Overnight, Lukashka proves himself a capable warrior to prove them all wrong, impressing his father and Maryana; however, when she tries to apologize for her cruel treatment of him, he ignores her, even though he is still in love with her. Matters get complicated when the Tsar's son comes to village in search of a bride and sets his eyes on Maryana. And then there's still the Turks to contend with... Written by
The film was originally to have been directed by Viktor Tourjansky, but it took such a long time getting the script together that he moved on to another project. George W. Hill then took over, but the studio was dissatisfied with the way it turned out. Clarence Brown was brought in and wound up reshooting almost all of it. See more »
After the phenomenal success of The Big Parade and maybe to get John Gilbert away from Greta Garbo where they were becoming a serious item off as well as on screen, Louis B. Mayer brought the stars Gilbert and Renee Adoree back to the screen for an epic costume drama set in old mother Russia, The Cossacks.
Gilbert plays a young Cossack son of the village Hetman Ernest Torrance who just can't get into the Cossack spirit. He rides well enough, but only well enough to show off to one particular village girl Adoree. She likes him well enough inside, but makes a big show of saying she wants a he man type Cossack who slays non-Christians with abandon. Gilbert would rather make love than fight, a sensible idea, but you don't get the women that way.
But he has competition soon enough when a prince from Moscow played by Nils Asther and that man's looks, riches, and charm is enough to turn any girl's head. Gilbert and Asther are soon rivals for Adoree.
Then there are those Turks looming on the horizon. All these elements come together in a spectacular climax.
The Cossacks is an exciting film and a bit frightening at times. I have to marvel at some of the riding that Gilbert's character was doing. I'm wondering whether it was Yakima Canutt doubling for Gilbert in those scenes.
Not as good as The Big Parade, but solid entertainment still today and a great introduction to John Gilbert.
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