FRENCH MASTERWORKS: RUSSIAN ÉMIGRÉS IN PARIS (1923-1929)

The collection of Russian filmmakers who made up the core of what came to be known as Films Albatros arrived from Moscow after the October 1917 revolution by way of Yalta, Constantinople and Marseilles, establishing their base of operations in an old Pathé greenhouse-style studio in the Paris suburb of Montreuil. From it flowed some of the finest French films of the 1920s - variously experimental, spectacular, charming, witty; and always beautifully executed.

 
 

Three of the films showcase the multi-faceted talents of Ivan Mosjoukine, who left a starring career in Russia for even greater glory in France. He wrote and directed THE BURNING CRUCIBLE (LE BRASIER ARDENT, 1923) in which he also plays eleven parts. Of this film Jean Renoir said "I was ecstatic ... I decided to abandon my trade, ceramics, to try to make films." Mosjoukine also collaborated on the script and plays the title role in Alexandre Volkoff's lavish KEAN (1924), dramatizing the later life of Edmund Kean, the greatest Shakespearian of the early 19th century. In THE LATE MATHIAS PASCAL (FEU MATHIAS PASCAL, 1926) - a nearly three-hour super-production based upon a Pirandello Novel and brilliantly directed by Marcel L'Herbier - Mosjoukine inhabits the dual lives of the eponymous main character. 

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Alexander Kamenka, the head of Albatros, thought Jacques Feyder the greatest French filmmaker, and secured his talent for the dazzling comedy-dramas GRIBICHE (1925) and THE NEW GENTLEMEN (LES NOUVEAUX MESSIEUR, 1928). Jean Forest (FACES OF CHILDRENCRAINQUEBILLE) is Gribiche, a working-class youth who allows himself to be adopted in the hope that his widowed mother can marry a man unwilling to take on a step-son. THE NEW GENTLEMEN, one of the wittiest, most sophisticated comedies ever to come out of France, describes a tug-of-war over a pretty young actress between an aging aristocrat and a young left-wing union organizer. 

The five exciting features in this collection, each restored to excellent condition by La Cinémathèque française, are accompanied by outstanding new music scores by Timothy Brock, Robert Israel, Neil Brand, Antonio Coppola and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

Also presented is a new essay on Films Albatros and notes on each film by historian Lenny Borger.

 
 
 

  Contents

Format: DVD-NTSC / Region 0
(No Regional Code)

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THE BURNING CRUCIBLE (LE BRASIER ARDENT)
(France, 1923)

Director & Scenario: Ivan Mosjoukine
Assisted by: Serge Nadejdine 
Photographed by: Joseph-Louis Mundwiller & Nicolas Toporkoff
Production Company: Films Albatros
Art Director: Alexandre Lochakoff & Edouard Gosch
Exteriors: Paris & vicinity; Marseilles; Studio: Montreuil
Cast: Ivan Mosjoukine, Nathalie Lissenko, Nicolas Koline, Camille Bardou, François Zellas & Huguette [or Anna] de la Croix
Music: Neil Brand

• 110 minutes
• B&W

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KEAN
(France, 1923) 

Director: Alexandre Volkoff
Scenario: Alexandre Volkoff, Ivan Mosjoukine, Kenelm Foss, based in part on a play by Alexandre Dumas, Père, Thiaulon and de Courcy
Camera: Joseph-Louis Mundwiller & Fédote Bourgassoff
Setting: Alexandre Lochakoff & Edouard Gosch
Production Company: Films Albatros
Cast: Ivan Mosjoukine, Nicolas Koline, Nathalie LIssenko, Otto Detlefsen, Albert Bras, Georges Denoubourg & Kenelm Foss
Music: Robert Israel

• 136 minutes
• B&W

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THE LATE MATHIAS PASCAL (FEU MATHIS PASCAL)
(France, 1925)

Director: Marcel L'Herbier
Assisted by: Alberto Cavalcanti
Scenario: Marcel L'Herbier, from the novel by Luigi Pirandello
Photographed by: Jean Letort, Jimmy Berliet, Fédote Bourgassoff, Nicolas Roudakoff & Paul Guichard
Designed by: Alberto Cavalcanti & Lazare Meerson
Production Company: Cinégraphic / Films Albatros
Cast: Ivan Mosjoukine, Marcelle Pradot, Loïs Moran, Marthe Bellot, Mireille Barsac, Pauline Carton, Irma Perrot, Michel Simon, Pierre Batcheff & Jean Hervé
Music: Timothy Brock

• 171 minutes
• B&W

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GRIBICHE
(France, 1925) 

Director: Jacques Feyder
Assisted by: Henri Chomette
Scenario: Jacques Feyder, from a screen story by Frédéric Boutet Kuleshov, adapted from the story “The Unexpected” by Jack London
Camera: Roger Forster & Maurice Desfassiaux
Settings: Lazare Meerson
Production Company: Films Albatros
Cast: Jean Forest, Françoise Rosay, Cécile Guyon, Rolla Norman & Armand Dufour
Music: Rodney Sauer, performed by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

• 112 minutes
• B&W, tinted

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THE NEW GENTLEMEN (LES NOUVEAUX MESSIEURS)
(France, 1928)

Director: Jacques Feyder
Assisted by: Charles Barrois
Scenario & Titles: Jacques Feyder & Charles Spaak from a play by Robert de Flers & Francis de Croisset
Camera: Georges Perinal & Maurice Desfassiaux
Settings: Lazare Meerson
Production Company: Goskino (Kultkino)
Researcher: Ilya Kopalin
Music: Eric Beheim

• 135 minutes
• B&W

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Bonus Material

• Deleted Scene from GRIBICHE, not in the set's current restoration but only in the foreign negative.

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Total Running Time: 11:04:00 (5 Discs)

Language: Silent with Russian intertitles & optional English subtitles

Musical Score: Robert Israel, Neil Brand, Timothy Brock & Rodney Sauer

Booklet Text: Lenny Borger

Published By: Flicker Alley

Institutional Price: $600 (plus shipping)

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.