Muichkine, a young Russian prince, returns home to St. Petersburg from a mental institution, determined to spread decency and kindness in the harsh and cruel world. He becomes betrothed to ... See full summary »
Muichkine, a young Russian prince, returns home to St. Petersburg from a mental institution, determined to spread decency and kindness in the harsh and cruel world. He becomes betrothed to an innocent young girl while trying to save a less-innocent woman from her own travail, but jealousy and his own naivete conjoin to bring about unimaginable tragedy. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gorgeous Romantic Kitsch - Dostoevsky Would Throw a Fit!
Stiffly directed, clumsily edited, weighed down with pointless shots to show off Leon Barsacq's sumptuous sets of 19th century Saint Petersburg, this is still a scorching and hypnotically beautiful romantic melodrama thanks to the sheer magic of its two lead actors. In his first major film role - as the pious Prince Myshkin - Gerard Philippe radiates the most sexualised saintliness you are ever likely to see on screen. As Natasha Filipevna, the doomed courtesan he falls in love with, Edwige Feuillere is at once meltingly sensual and hard-as-nails - a romantic dominatrix in luscious Escoffier gowns, who falls victim to her own finer instincts.
Mind you, I've no idea how this film will play to fans of Dostoevsky. (Personally, I have always loathed his work, finding it an exercise in boring pseudo-spiritual navel-gazing.) Yet for the same crowd of doomed romantics who adored Garbo in Anna Karenina or Omar Sharif and Julie Christie in Doctor Zhivago (and may not give a toss for Tolstoy or Pasternak) this is one film to track down at all costs. Admirers of 'deep' Russian fiction will most likely be apoplectic, but don't they all just love to be miserable anyway?
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