Special Screening: Alexandre Volkoff’s La Maison du Mystère (1923)

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Jul 28, 2003

MoMA

The great revelation of last year’s film preservation festival, Il Cinema Ritrovato, in Bologna, Italy, was this spellbinding French serial adapted by Russian émigrés Alexandre Volkoff and Ivan Mosjoukine from a potboiler by Jules Mary. Preservationists anxiously awaited the suspenseful outcome of a love triangle leading to betrayal and murder, but it was the film’s visual inventiveness—a wedding scene in silhouette, a climactic fight reflected in an onlooker’s camera lens, a perilous chase across a threadbare canyon footbridge—that convinced them to place La Maison du Mystère alongside the work of Louis Feuillade as a masterpiece of the serial genre.

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