MEDVEZHYA SVADBA (1925)
aka The Marriage of the Bear
Article 5372 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Konstantin Eggert and Vladimir Gardin
Featuring Konstantin Eggert, Vera Malinovskaya, B. Afonin
What it is: Horrific drama
On a hunting expedition, a pregnant noblewoman is attacked by a bear. Years later, the son that was born to her and has inherited the estate has taken to stalking women while wearing a bear skin.
Here’s a title that was consigned to my “ones that got away” list many years ago, but which has recently popped up on YouTube; unfortunately, the print does not have English subtitles, and I had to seek the help of a few sketchy plot descriptions to figure out parts of the story. Visually, it’s an interesting movie at times, and it occasionally uses a rapid-fire editing technique that would be interesting to evaluate. However, two circumstances prevented me from enjoying this technique. The first is that since I was unable to read the Russian title cards, I couldn’t quite grasp the context of the scenes. Second, the copy I saw of the movie seemed to be running at a slightly accelerated speed, and the rapid-fire edits went by so quickly it was difficult to focus in on or absorb the images. The story itself is a variation on the werewolf legend, though with something more of psychological transformation rather than a physical one. This is one I may have to give another chance sometime when it has an English translation; as it is, I found the movie a little frustrating. Still, like many of the “ones that got away”, I count myself lucky that I was able to find it at all.