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The Chess Player
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Top Customer Reviews
The Chess player is a spectacular film with many stunning scenes. It is beautiful to look at with lavish sets and costumes. The acting is good and the direction is often inspired, displaying impressive filmmaking technique with its use of unusual camera angles and inventive camera movement. The editing at times resembles the fast, creative style of filmmakers like Eisenstein and Pudovkin. But The Chess Player, although well worth seeing, is rather a flawed film. The story is slight and at times rather ludicrous. It does not have the depth to justify the epic scope of the film. The biggest problem is that the story of the chess-playing automaton fits uneasily into a story of the Polish struggle for independence. The focus on chess and various automata tends to trivialise momentous events. While it is a feast for the senses, the film does not engage the emotions as much as it should. It includes a love triangle, but the potential of this aspect of the story is not fully developed.Read more ›
As for the picture itself, I wish I could say that I was totally bowled over by the film as I have waited a long time to see it, but I wasn't. The sets and costumes are the equal of NAPOLEON, the cinematography is a striking combination of Eisenstein and Gance, and part of the story is based on historical fact (there really was a Baron von Kempelen in the late 18th century who created a mechanical chess player called the Turk) but Bernard is no Abel Gance. At 140 minutes the film seemed far too long for the story it had to tell. The pace flags from time to time especially in the romantic scenes which seem to interrupt the flow of the movie. Nevertheless THE CHESS PLAYER is chock full of startling images thanks to the automaton subplot. The final sequence inside the inventor's house will stay with you for a long time afterwards. The performances for the most part are subservient to the overall look of the film but Charles Dullin as the Baron makes the most of the film's best role.
The film is definitely worth having as there is so little of late European silent cinema available on home video.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Visually beautiful movie about love, heroism, beautiful music, and chess.Published 4 months ago by Marilyn M.
Fascinating fictional story based on a true Automaton, The Turk, which was an actual chess playing mechanical illusion, that fooled the public for over 85 years. Read morePublished on December 30, 2012 by Gene E. McCluney
This is surely one of the silent era's most outstanding and special films which probably deserves to be much more famous than it is. Read morePublished on September 5, 2007 by Barbara Underwood
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