|MOCKERY (aka; TERROR) (director: Benjamin Christensen; screenwriters: Bradley King/Stig Esbern (story)/Joseph Farnham; cinematographer: Merritt B. Gerstad; editor: John W. English; music: Jimmy Schafer; cast: Lon Chaney (Sergei), Barbara Bedford (Tatiana), Ricardo Cortez (Dimitri), Mack Swain (Mr. Gaidaroff), Emily Fitzroy (Mrs. Gaidaroff), Charles Puffy (Ivan, cook), Kai Schmidt (Butler), Johnny Mack Brown (Officer at table); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Erich Pommer; MGM; 1927-silent)|
|"It's a solid effort."
by Dennis Schwartz
horror film filmmaker Benjamin Christensen
("The Haunted House"/"The Devil's Circus"/"Haxan:
Witchcraft Through the Ages") helms this
historical silent for the Hollywood studio of MGM. One
of the few films he made in America. It's based on a
story by Stig Esbern and the screenplay is by Bradley
King. It's a solid effort.
set in war-torn Siberia, during the Russian
Revolution. The wealthy Countess Tatiana (Barbara
Bedford) wishes to return home to Novokursk.
As a guide she hires the hungry stranger peasant
Sergei (Lon Chaney), and promises him food and money
if he keeps his promise. He also must pretend to be
her husband. After crossing through the woods and the
peasant getting whipped to protect the identity of the
countess, they reach her destination. There she gives
a message to the czarist leaders, while he's rewarded
with a menial kitchen job. The peasant is politically
influenced by the Bolshevik cook (Charles
Puffy) and sides with the revolutionaries in
hating the ruling class.
the aristocrats and Bolsheviks are skewered for their
Lon Chaney is remembered as the "Man of a Thousand Faces." His performance, in this unheralded film, is pure gold.
REVIEWED ON 5/11/2016 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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