A woman, named simply "Elle" and her husband, a wealthy industrialist, are not on the best of terms. While she enjoys the way he caters to her every whim, she wonders whether he really ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Zed - le détective
Nicolas Koline ...
Le mari
Camille Bardou ...
Le président du Club
Huguette Delacroix ...
La Grand Mère (as Mme. A. de la Croix)
Franco Zellas ...
(as François Zellas)
Paul Franceschi
Jules de Spoly


A woman, named simply "Elle" and her husband, a wealthy industrialist, are not on the best of terms. While she enjoys the way he caters to her every whim, she wonders whether he really loves her. He, on the other hand, torments himself by imagining rivals. One morning she awakens from a nightmare in which she has been pursued by a man in various guises, who turns out to be the famous Detective Z, whose memoirs she has been reading. When she and her husband quarrel over leaving Paris permanently for a country estate, he goes to the "Trouve Tout" Agency and hires, of all people, Detective Z, to win back her affection. She promptly steals their marriage contract. Z tracks down the document and is nearly seduced in the process, but he resists her and returns to the comforts of home, his adoring mother, and a pet bulldog. In a chic restaurant one evening, she challenges him to a dancing duel, which he wins. After her confession of love, he goes home with a toothache. The contract is ... Written by Jose Guilherme Correa <jgcorrea@rio.matrix.com.br>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

2 November 1923 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Burning Brazier  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Nathalie Lissenko and Ivan Mozzhukhin not only co-starred in this and many other movies, they were married. They emigrated to France, along with many other Russian actors and artists, after the Bolshevik Revolution. See more »


Featured in Historia del cine: Epoca muda (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Downright odd
19 November 2004 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a movie that requires several viewings to appreciate. It has a sort of hypnotic charm and oddness about it that I found gripped my attention throughout, even when I wasn't exactly sure I was understanding the message.

Ivan Mosjoukine plays the famous Detective Z who is hired by a husband to investigate his wife and persuade her to leave Paris and move with him to South America. The plot is superficially a standard detective story, but it has so many bizarre twists it ends up defying categorization. Mosjoukine shows his great talent for comedy in this film, and has a playfulness and charm that are really adorable. He's such a little boy, dissolving in tears when his heart is broken, and then bouncing with delight when all ends well.

There's one scene in this movie that's too difficult to describe, but it's a sort of crazed women's dance marathon, and the way it ends - with the women turning the tables and making the men all dance frenetically together - is so funny, it made me laugh out loud in a way no other silent movie has ever done. The sets have an overpowering, surreal effect - the human beings are always moving about in rooms and on staircases that are far bigger than anything a normal person would experience. The scene where the husband blunders into the detective agency, and is confronted by a synchronized line of tuxedoed detectives on traveling chairs that slide about in formation, is quite unforgettable. It's like a cross between a Fred Astaire dance number and a Kafka nightmare. The ending has a twist I never saw coming, and probably was a big reason why the movie failed at the box office. It's a happy ending, but just bizarre - even in France, I can't imagine an audience in 1923 thinking that this was a believable way to end a quasi-mystery, no matter how well Mosjoukine prepared them in advance with all the surrealist details. I'd really like to see this movie completely restored; it is visually exciting, and deserves a wider audience. Come to think of it, the time may be right for someone even to remake it - it's quite outside of any real time period, and would not come across as dated at all.

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