The Chess Player is a powerful drama of patriotism, betrayal and suspense produced at an extraordinarily fertile moment in French cinema history. Like Abel Gance's Napoleon, director Raymond Bernard's creation is a grand epic filled with style, verve and action. The film was a sensation in 1927 and continues to astonish audiences today.
1776. Poland. With his homeland partitioned and ruled by Russia, Polish nobleman and patriot Boleslas Vorowski heads a secret liberation movement. When Vorowski is wounded in battle, his mentor, the inventor Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen, constructs the Turk, a marvelous chess-playing automaton. With the handsome Polish nobleman secreted inside, the Turk vanquishes the Russians - if only on the chessboard. When Catherine the Great summons the Turk to the Russian Imperial Court for a command match, the fate of Polish independence lies in the hands of the chess player.
Henri Dupuy-Mazuel's novel was based on the story of the real Turk, an automaton that baffled the best minds of Europe and America - including Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe and Napoleon. Shot on location in Poland, France and Switzerland, The Chess Player combines gorgeous decors and thousands of extras from the Polish cavalry into an electrifying feast for the eyes and mind. The film has been expertly restored by Photoplay Productions under the auspices of Kevin Brownlow, Patrick Stanbury and the late David Gill.
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