The Chess Player (1938)

aka Le Joeuer d’echecs
Article 1831 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-20-2006
Posting Date: 8-17-2006
Directed by Jean Dreville
Featuring Francoise Rosay, Conrad Veidt, Paul Cambo

A toymaker who specializes in large mechanical men builds an automatic chess player to hide a refugee.

Well, here’s another movie I can’t say too much about, due to the fact that my print is in French and is only sporadically subtitled. Furthermore, when the subtitles do show up, they are often illegible and/or poorly positioned. Granted, it helps that I have seen the 1927 version of the original movie, but that was more than three years ago, and it’s not fresh in my memory. Let’s just say that the many automatons make for the science fiction element of the story, and that the main appeal of this version seems to be the presence of Conrad Veidt in the role of the inventor / puppeteer. There is the occasional visual highlight, usually involving the automatons. However, this is pretty puny in comparison with the silent version, which is longer, more epic, and easier to find. Despite the presence of Veidt here, I’m afraid the choice is fairly obvious.


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