The film has a complicated history, including a frosty reception upon its first (and second release). But even if the film weren’t importantly historically, with one of the first moments of moving technicolor (rather than hand-tinted film), it allows us to watch Chaney in all his sympathetic, oddball glory.
Category: Silent Film
Although the "message" of "The House on Trubnaya" (1928) (aka "The House on Trubnaya Square" aka "The House on Trubnaya Street") is, predictably, that the Soviet state is just super, the film does not throw its hands up in the air, in classic Russian fatalism. "The House on Trubnaya" is a hoot.
The clothes are, well, you can see the pictures. Unfortunately, although the fashion-forward Aelita may be a queen, she is not the ruler, as Tuskub (Konstantin Eggert), the ruler, likes to remind her. People on Mars are very frowny, if the two of them are anything to go by.
One thing that struck me the second time around was the arrangement of actors during the blackmail-over-breakfast scene, when Tracy attempts to squeeze Alice. It wasn't just that it looked familiar, but that the dynamic among the characters was familiar, too. It's an arrangement that's repeated in a few times in "Blackmail."
The film is a fantastic example of the work women were doing in Hollywood before it became such an old boys’ club. It is based on a story by “Madame” Elinor Glyn, as she’s credited here, with a screenplay co-written by Hope Loring, a writer with 63 credits to her name, and Louis. D. Lighton.