An elderly countess strikes a bargain with the devil and exchanges her soul for the ability to always win at cards. An army officer, who is also a fanatic about cards, murders her for the ... See full summary »
In 19th century Russia, a Tartar rebellion led by Feofar Khan separates Russia from Siberia where the Tsar's brother and his troops are making a last stand. The Tsar entrusts Captain Michel Strogoff to deliver a vital message to them.
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RKO bought the rights to the French version Michel Strogoff (1936) for $75,000, and specifically signed its star Anton Walbrook so that they could use some scenes from that movie. About 22 scenes were edited into the new version, including Siberia footage, battle footage, Tartar camps and the river on fire. The Hollywood Reporter mentioned that the new footage shot blended perfectly with the old footage. See more »
THE ADVENTURES OF MICHAEL STROGOFF (aka THE SOLDIER AND THE LADY) is a strange little movie. At first glance it's an American production, but then it turns out to be a version of a French version of a German movie. Confused yet? In essence, lots of footage is taken from the European original(s) with some added-in sub-plots involving a couple of comic relief characters commentating on the action.
The film is a fairly typical swashbuckler for the era, ostensibly based on a Jules Verne story. The fact that it involves the Russian Empire makes for a refreshing change, but otherwise it's business as usual. The bad guys are dastardly and of the moustache-twirling variety while the hero is put through the mill during the course of the production.
There are certainly some rousing bits of spectacle along the way, including well-filmed horse and carriage chases. The ending is inevitably stirring, with a nice twist. Strogoff gets the chance to indulge in some fisticuffs with a bear and is later subjected to a torture scene straight out of a FU MANCHU movie. It's all heavily dated so only those with a nostalgic eye for the era will likely enjoy it.
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