When the name of Russia comes to aristocratic minds, we immediately think of caviar, vodka and the Bolshoi ballet. Commoners instead recall to mind a famous revolution that took place in that country nearly 100 years ago. However, both sides agree on the importance of Russia to the history of cinema.
"The Red Dance" (1928, directed by Herr Raoul Walsh) is set in Russia during its revolution and there are many historical characters and fictional ones mixed together, but this film has nothing in common with the masterpieces directed by genuine Russian masters; Rather "The Red Dance" is a kind of soap-opera with a mission simply to entertain people and Herr Walsh certainly succeeds "The Red Dance" sees the peculiar times of Russian revolution through Amerikan eyes, so consequently the picture is a harmless, naïf and overall, a fictional approximation of events. Herr Walsh hasn't any other intention in mind because he knows that propaganda films are exclusively for genuine Russians or collective academic workshops.
So, in the picture we have a replication of the Czar, another one of Herr Rasputin and a revolutionary one who looks like Herr Trotsky, besides a lot of Cossacks, Bolsheviks and even a Grand Duke ( Herr Charles Farrell ) and a commoner , Frau Tasia ( Frau Dolores del Río in her most Slavic role ). The latter two fall in love after some hardships and we learn that the big triumph of the Russian revolution is not the victory of the masses but that an aristocrat and commoner can find each other and happiness, MEIN GOTT!!.
"The Red Dance" comes off as something of a parody of Russian subjects with no serious artistic pretensions and full of delicious incongruities, a light hearted romance that uses the Russian uprising to create the sort of films that Amerikans do so well, reinterpreting history to make entertainment.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must dance the troika ( a Russian folk dance that recently has become very popular in Europe ) with one of his rich and fat Teutonic heiresses.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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