The source story by Anton Chekhov, 'The Shooting Party', is set in the 1840's, but director Douglas Sirk moved up the setting to the 1910s so the framing sequences at the beginning and the end would take place after the Russian Revolution. "With guys like [Fedor] and the Count going around, there had to be a revolution," Sirk explained. See more »
This movie is a stagy Hollywoodish interpretation of a story by Anton Chekhov. While the story itself is good, the problem is that Hollywood converts the story into melodramatic pulp. George Sanders was a great actor but here he is entirely miscast. Playing starstruck was not Mr. Sander's forte. Linda Darnell was beautiful and was also a great actress but casting her as a Russian Russian peasant woman, and a self-centered, illiterate one at that, was a bit of a stretch. Her manipulations were laughable. The idea of her character actually getting over George Sander's character tested the limits of plausibility. Some of the supporting cast were more believable, something however that cannot be said for Edward Everett Horton. One was hard pressed to ignore Mr. Horton's jocular Americanese inflection suggesting a character who might have been more at home at a baseball game anywhere in the United States. All this notwithstanding, it's still a good movie and worth watching because despite the aforementioned flaws, Mr. Sanders is dashing, Ms. Darnell is ravishing, Mr. Horton is amusing, the rest of the cast is wonderful and the movie overall is entertaining, which is the ultimate bottom line.
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