Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
Original title: Pikovaya Dama
Russia, 1916. Screenplay by Fyodor Otsep, Yakov Protazanov, based on the short story by Alexander Pushkin. Cinematography by Yevgeni Slavinsky. Produced by Joseph N. Ermolieff. Music by Rafal Rozmus. Production Design by Vladimir Ballyuzek.
Lush, humorous adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s short story, about a young man who hears his friend tell a story around the gambling table about his clever grandmother. As a young woman years before, this crafty lady learned a card trick that erased a huge gambling debt she had incurred and our hero, obsessed with finding out her secret, courts the old woman’s ward Lizaveta in the hopes of discovering it. The results of his desperate actions end up putting a slyly funny human comedy into action with devastating results. Good acting for a silent film, not overly mannered or plastic, plus sturdy direction by Yakov Protazanov, beautiful photography and gorgeous costumes make for a real gem.