1002nd Ruse (1915)
Alternate Title: Tysycha vtoraya khitrost
I suppose it had to happen sooner or later; there was bound to be one film by Evgeni Bauer that disappointed me. After all, he set such a high standard with movies like “After Death” and “Silent Witnesses,” not all of his work could be so great. Still, when you love a film maker, it hurts to run across a miss in his list of hits. This movie is an attempt at comedy which didn’t even elicit a chuckle from me. Apparently, it’s based on a stage play, and I’d be willing to guess that it could work better with dialogue. The plot is simply that an old man reads the book “1001 Feminine Ruses” and spends the rest of the movie congratulating himself on being one up on his wife – until, of course, she invents a new one. It’s the sort of comedy that I’m not crazy about in general, since there are no sympathetic characters and everyone is basically nasty to one another, but I find that “situational” humor like this is especially weak in silent viewing. The movie is mercifully short, and Bauer still shows a degree of cinematic competence, but there’s nothing really brilliant here. He makes use of a keyhole matte to establish the husband’s spying, and there’s some nice exterior footage of a Russian city (Petrograd? Moscow? I’m not sure), but most of the shots are basic square stages and the camera never moves.
Director: Evgeni Bauer
Run Time: 14 Min, 30 secs
You can watch it for free: here.