The Chess Machine


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A dramatic action thriller, set in late 1700s Italy, based on true events. When the film opens, Baron Kempelen discovers Tibor in prison and offers him a lucrative but peculiar job; squeeze into a small cabinet and beat the world's... See more »

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Status: script
Status Updated: 01 Aug 2018

Directed by

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Alex Graves

Written by

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Julian Fellowes ... (writer)

Produced by

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Anthony Callie ... producer
Paul Dektor ... producer
Peter Dinklage ... producer
David Ginsberg ... producer
Brandon K. Hogan ... producer

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Plot Summary

A dramatic action thriller, set in late 1700s Italy, based on true events. When the film opens, Baron Kempelen discovers Tibor in prison and offers him a lucrative but peculiar job; squeeze into a small cabinet and beat the world's greatest chess players by controlling the movements of a life-sized mannequin called "The Turk." Tibor knows this is a bargain with the devil, but he's desperate to disappear, so he agrees. Having promised the Empress of Italy a dazzling exhibition within six months, Kempelen and his team, including a brilliant craftsman named Jakob, must overcome all manner of obstacles, which requires as much attention to engineering as to psychology. Each of the Turk's matches is a high-stakes gamble, not just for the money involved but the risk of exposure, which would mean ruin for Kempelen and death for Tibor. It's a grinding existence for the lonely man, alternately boring and terrifying, as Tibor realizes he's a pawn in the hands of an increasingly psychotic master. But the machine's success becomes its own reason for continuing. Tension mounts as the Turk gains notoriety and is requested to perform at a ball celebrating the union of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. Tibor agrees to a repeat performance, but when a baroness is found dead after the match and traces of her rouge are found on the Turk, rumors of the "Curse of the Turk" begin to spread. While the baroness' brother declares revenge on The Turk, the jealous Court Mechanician Frederich Knaus is suspicious of the Turk and convinces his lover, Galatea, to spy on Kempelen. The story unfolds in a thrilling journey truly unique and exciting, as Tibor and Kempelen are forced to defend their creation, their secret and ultimately their lives.

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Also Known As
  • The Chess Machine (United States)
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