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With: Pierre Blanchar, Charles Dullin, Edith Jehanne, Camille Bert, Pierre Batcheff, Marcelle Charles Dullin, Jacky Monnier, Armand Bernard, Alexiane, Pierre Hot, Jaime Devesa, Fridette Fatton
Written by: Raymond Bernard, Jean-José Frappa, Henry Dupuis-Mazuel, based on a novel by Henry Dupuis-Mazuel
Directed by: Raymond Bernard
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 133
Date: 07/20/1927

The Chess Player (1927)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Like Abel Gance's Napoleon, the 133-minute, The Chess Player is a giant-sized silent-era epic with an enormous scope and vision. Set in 1776, the Polish have begun to revolt against the occupying Russians. When a Polish nobleman who leads a secret liberation movement becomes a fugitive, an inventor constructs an automaton of a chess player and hides him inside. The chess player goes on to battle the Russians on a different front: the chess board. Of course, the movie also throws in a love triangle between the beautiful girl, the Polish agent and a Russian officer. French director Raymond Bernard -- who went on to make the 1934 Les Misérables -- spares no expense and throws as much passion into the battle scenes as he does the chess scenes. Image Entertainment's disc comes with an excellent Carl Davis-conducted soundtrack score.

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