LA MAISON DU MYSTÈRE – Ep. 6: La Voix du sang

Alexander Volkoff

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo (1921) di Jules Mary. Scen.: Alexandre Volkoff e Ivan Mozžuchin. F.: Joseph-Louis Mundwiller, Fédote Bourgassoff. Scgf.: Ivan Lochakoff, Edouard Gosch. Int.: Ivan Mozžuchin (Julien Villandrit), Charles Vanel (Henri Corradin), Nicolas Koline (Rudeberg), Hélène Darly (Régine de Bettigny), Francine Mussey (Christiane), Sylvia Grey (Marjorie), Simone Genevois (Christiane bambina), Bartkévitch (Marjory), Wladimir Strijewski (Pascal giovane), Claude Bénédict (Général de Bettigny). Prod.: Film Albatros. 35mm. L.: 561 m. D.: 26’ a 20 f/s. Bn e col

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

A serial in ten episodes. Julien Villandrit, the owner of a textile factory, and his manager and childhood friend, Henri Corradin, are both in love with the same woman. Thus, when Régine de Bettigny gives her hand to Villandrit, Corradin becomes mad with jealousy. The latter will resort to any means to break up the couple. After betrayals, tragedy, devastating separations, twists and turns… will love conquer all?
Not long ago, I was the staunchest opponent of serial films. I used to steer clear of the theatres where they were being shown, and, sticking to my position, I refused to go see any of these countless parts of the countless adventures that make up one of these films. Undeniably, in recent times, something has changed…
La Maison du mystère completed my conversion. It is no longer a film of abracadabra situations, extraordinary adventures, heroines killed ten times and resurrected ten times, but rather a very clear adaptation of Jules Mary’s novel. A science of rhythm, of intensity, of truth and beautiful photography where ingenious discoveries abound characterise the directing of Mr Volkoff, who admirably guided his actors.”

L’Habitué du Vendredi, “Cinémagazine”, 23 March 1923

This film has it all: moments of sadness and moral suffering, emotional and vertiginous adventures of a supreme degree, gripping drama, a mixture of criminals and enlightened souls – everything necessary to captivate audiences, taking the soul through the most diverse emotions. We should add that some episodes exemplify a commitment to art and novelty that the cinema is not yet accustomed to… The composition and lighting have been carefully studied. Backlighting against stark contrasts defines these silhouettes of characters and objects, heralding a welcome innovation. At times, entire scenes are traced according to the movement of the fleeting shadows, and in the background, the flickering lights come alive and half-tones are diffused. In the same spirit, some corners have been created by reconstitution, just as landscape gardeners used to do long ago.

Georges-Michel Coissac, “Le Cinéopse”, March 1923

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