The Soldier and the Lady


1h 25m 1937
The Soldier and the Lady

Brief Synopsis

A Russian courier struggles to deliver a message to the troops fighting Tartar invaders.

Film Details

Also Known As
Michael Strogoff
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Adventure
Historical
Release Date
Apr 9, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Siberia, Soviet Union
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Michel Strogoff by Jules Verne (Paris, 1876) and the French film Michel Strogoff , screenplay by Hans Kyser (Productions Joseph N. Ermolieff, Richard Eichberg-Film, 1935), motion picture rights assigned by Society Jules Verne.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

In Siberia, in 1879, allied Tartar and Mongol hordes, under the leadership of the vulgar rebel Ivan Ogareff, pillage the land and threaten the Tsar Alexander II's rule. From Russia, Alexander II dispatches courier Michael Strogoff to deliver secret military plans to Grand Duke Vladimir, 2,500 miles away at Irkutsk, a Siberian town that is now isolated because telegraph lines have been cut. Because his journey will take him through the town where his mother Martha resides, Michael must deny his natural inclination and pledge not to see her, so that his true identity will not be discovered. While en route by train, the disguised Michael meets the lone girl Nadia and the spy Zangarra, along with two amusing war correspondents, Cyril Blount and Eddie Packer. On a boat to Omsk, Michael saves Zangarra from a bear attack, and in appreciation, she prevents his assassination by Ogareff's henchman Vasiley. Then while Michael, Zangarra and Nadia are traveling by ferry, Tartars attack, and Nadia is captured and Michael, wounded. After awakening in a shepherd's hut, Michael realizes he is behind enemy lines. At a nearby inn, Martha recognizes her son, who must deny her presence to preserve his cover, but he reveals himself when Ogareff orders her flogged. Michael is sentenced to be blinded by a white-hot blade passed before his eyes, but Zangarra bribes the executioner to save Michael's sight by positioning the sword over his forehead. Although Martha dies and Zangarra is later executed, Michael continues on his mission with Nadia and is ignored by the Tartars because they believe he is blind. Upon arriving in Irkutsk, Ogareff pretends he is the Tsar's courier and delivers a message to trick Vladimir. Michael and Nadia arrive just as Ogareff sets fire to the town. Michael kills Ogareff, who is stunned to discover that his enemy can see, and explains the truth to Vladimir. Leading a sortie, Michael routs the invaders and is later decorated by the Tsar and marries Nadia.

Film Details

Also Known As
Michael Strogoff
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Adventure
Historical
Release Date
Apr 9, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Siberia, Soviet Union
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Michel Strogoff by Jules Verne (Paris, 1876) and the French film Michel Strogoff , screenplay by Hans Kyser (Productions Joseph N. Ermolieff, Richard Eichberg-Film, 1935), motion picture rights assigned by Society Jules Verne.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Articles

The Soldier And The Lady


Jules Verne's oft-filmed 1870 historical romance Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar gets the RKO treatment in this sweeping epic produced by Pandro S. Berman. While it may seem that the studio spared no expense to bring Verne's classic novel to the big screen, the backstory is as fascinating as the film itself: Berman spent $75,000 to obtain the rights to a preexisting German adaptation of the tale, produced by Russian expatriate Joseph N. Ermolieff in both German and French, both starring Austrian actor Adolf Wohlbrück (a disciple of German theatrical impresario Max Reinhardt) as a dashing servant of Czar Alexander II who helps to quell the Tartar Revolt. To bring the material to American moviegoers, Berman adopted the labor-saving tack of lifting battle scenes and other exterior shots from the foreign language versions of the film and imported Wohlbrück to the States to appear in new footage, supported by a cast of Hollywood character actors - among them Akim Tamiroff, Fay Bainter, and Ward Bond (as a Tartar chieftain). Retitled The Soldier and the Lady (1937), the film only broke even at the box office. Anton Walbrook drifted to Great Britain, where he took the lead in the original film adaptation of Gaslight (1940), though he was replaced by Charles Boyer in the 1944 MGM remake. Co- producer Ermolieff later shopped his original footage to Mexico, where it was folded yet again into an entirely new adaptation, this time starring Julián Soler in the title role.

By Richard Harland Smith

The Soldier And The Lady

The Soldier And The Lady

Jules Verne's oft-filmed 1870 historical romance Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar gets the RKO treatment in this sweeping epic produced by Pandro S. Berman. While it may seem that the studio spared no expense to bring Verne's classic novel to the big screen, the backstory is as fascinating as the film itself: Berman spent $75,000 to obtain the rights to a preexisting German adaptation of the tale, produced by Russian expatriate Joseph N. Ermolieff in both German and French, both starring Austrian actor Adolf Wohlbrück (a disciple of German theatrical impresario Max Reinhardt) as a dashing servant of Czar Alexander II who helps to quell the Tartar Revolt. To bring the material to American moviegoers, Berman adopted the labor-saving tack of lifting battle scenes and other exterior shots from the foreign language versions of the film and imported Wohlbrück to the States to appear in new footage, supported by a cast of Hollywood character actors - among them Akim Tamiroff, Fay Bainter, and Ward Bond (as a Tartar chieftain). Retitled The Soldier and the Lady (1937), the film only broke even at the box office. Anton Walbrook drifted to Great Britain, where he took the lead in the original film adaptation of Gaslight (1940), though he was replaced by Charles Boyer in the 1944 MGM remake. Co- producer Ermolieff later shopped his original footage to Mexico, where it was folded yet again into an entirely new adaptation, this time starring Julián Soler in the title role. By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Michael Strogoff, and it was reviewed as such by several trade journals. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Joseph Ermolieff, who was credited on screen as associate producer, was a White Russian who made films in Russia before the Revolution. In 1935, Ermolieff produced French and German versions, entitled Michel Strogoff and Der Kurier des Zaren, respectively, of Jules Verne's novel; the first was directed by Richard Eichberg and Jacques de Baroncelli and starred Adolf Wolhbrück, the second was directed by Eichberg and also starred Wolbrück. Both films used much of the same footage. The Society Jules Verne, which is credited on screen with assigning the movie rights, is an active organization in France that is dedicated to preserving Verne's home and birthplace, and publishes a quarterly journal devoted to study of the author's works. According to the Hollywood Reporter review, RKO producer Pandro S. Berman bought the rights to Ermolieff's French version for $75,000. By importing Wohlbrück, who changed his name to Anton Walbrook for his American screen debut, RKO was able to use approximately twenty-two scenes from the French version. These scenes, according to Hollywood Reporter, were filmed in Siberia and included views of thousands of horsemen in battle, Tartar camps and a river on fire. The Hollywood Reporter review commented that old and new scenes were expertly blended. Walbrook and stage actress Fay Bainter are introduced by a title at the end of the movie as "two new RKO Radio Pictures personalities." Hollywood Reporter news items add Pete Rasch, Harry Semels, Philip Morris, Bud Fine, Pat Somerset, John Northpole, Murray Kinnell and Raoul Harvey to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed.
       According to modern sources, two special editions of the Verne book, published by Grosset and Dunlap and A. L. Burt, were issued with the movie. In addition, modern sources note that although the production cost a modest $400,000, the film production barely broke even at the box office. A television release title of the film was The Adventures of Michael Strogoff. In 1946, The Soldier and the Lady was re-released by Bell Distributing under the title The Bandit and the Lady, with Fay Bainter and Akim Tamiroff receiving top billing. In 1938, Ermolieff returned to France, hoping to produce Le fils de Michael Strogoff, but that sequel was never completed. In 1943, Ermolieff made a fourth production based on the original footage, this time in Mexico under the title Miguel Strogoff, El Correo del Zar, directed by Miguel M. Delgado. Among the many film adaptations of the Verne novel are the following: Michael Strogoff, a 1908 Essanay one-reeler; Michael Strogoff, a 1910 picture from the Edison Manufacturing Co., directed by J. Searle Dawley; Michael Strogoff, a feature made in 1914 by Popular Plays and Players (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.2917); a 1926 Universal-Films de France production directed by Victor Tourjansky and starring Ivan Mosjoukine, also titled Michael Strogoff; three European co-productions, Michael Strogoff, made in 1956, released in the United States in 1960 by Continental Distributing, directed by Carmine Gallone and starring Curt Jurgens, Strogoff, produced in 1970, directed by Eriprando Visconti and starring John Philip Law (not released in the United States), and a 1975 television mini-series directed by Jean-Pierre Decourt.