The Chess Player (1927)

Not to be confused with Satyajit Ray’s similarly-titled 1970s film. This film takes the historical story of Wolfgang von Kempelen and his chess-playing automaton The Turk, and mangles it into a fictionalised tale of the Polish uprising against their Russian overlords inthe 18th century, playing rather hard and fast with the actual historical facts along the way. Still, the historical spectacle is what matters to most folk in a film like this, and there it delivers, although at 140 minutes perhaps it winds up delivering¬† a little too much. I first heard of this in the mid-90s from Kevin Brownlow’s Cinema Europe, which I really must dig out of the tape library and revisit. Also, Edith Jehanne (the female lead)? Hot.

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