Near the Tiber river, in a Roman park, a prostitute was killed. The police tracks down people that were inside the park during that night. They are questioned and have to explain why they ... See full summary »
Giancarlo De Rosa,
In 19th century Russia, a Tartar rebellion led by Feofar Khan separates Russia from Siberia where the Tsar's brother and his troops are making a last stand. The Tsar entrusts Captain Michel Strogoff to deliver a vital message to them.
Jean Boucheron the cat burglar is the darling of the Montmartre whores--and catches the eye of slumming socialite Zelia de Chaumont, who decides to "reform" him. A complication is his ... See full summary »
RKO bought the rights to the French version Michel Strogoff (1936) for $75,000, and specifically signed its star Anton Walbrook so that they could use some scenes from that movie. About 22 scenes were edited into the new version, including Siberia footage, battle footage, Tartar camps and the river on fire. The Hollywood Reporter mentioned that the new footage shot blended perfectly with the old footage. See more »
Blending footage perfectly from the French version that also starred Anton Walbrook, RKO Studios which normally did not have the budget to do a film from the ground up put out its own version of Jules Verne's Michael Strogoff with the same star.
Walbrook who after he left Hollywood in this his one and only film shot in America makes an impressive and intrepid courier of the czar. The Empire of Alexander II is being threatened by a revolt among the Tartars who are mistakenly identified as Moslems. In their leadership is Akim Tamiroff a former Russian army officer cashiered in disgrace. He's looking for payback.
Tamiroff learns of Strogoff's mission and has his own Mata Hari Margot Grahame on Walbrook almost immediately. That's in a figurative sense in the future she'd get the James Bond treatment. There's also a good girl in the mix with Elizabeth Allan and soon enough both of them are under his charm.
Comic relief is supplied in the culture clash war correspondents Eric Blore of the London Times and Edward Brophy of the Cleveland Chronicle. And Fay Bainter plays Strogoff's tragic mother. Why tragic and how she fits into the story is for you to see the film.
The American version is fine. It might have been better if one of the bigger outfits like MGM, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, or Paramount had done the film. But this will whet your appetite to see the original French version. Years ago I saw a 1956 color version with Curt Jurgens in the title role, but it seems to have disappeared.
This one will do nicely though.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?