The Mermaid (1910)

The Mermaid (1910)
aka Rusalka
Article 5661 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-1-2019
Directed by Vasili Goncharov
Featuring Vasili Stepanov, Aleksandra Goncharova, Andrej Gromov
Country: Russia
What it is: Opera adaptation

A prince jilts a miller’s daughter, who attempts suicide. He is haunted by her image at his wedding. He decides to go back and discover her fate…

Like Feuillade’s THE FAIRY OF THE SURF, this is another early drama in which the story involves romance and ends in an underwater kingdom. Unlike that film, though, the romances in this one all go sour, and the mood is gloomier. In terms of plot this one is more obscure; I’m not sure if the miller’s daughter has truly committed suicide or has survived, or whether the vision during the wedding is a ghost or just the prince’s imagination. However, I may attribute the confusion here to the fact that it’s an adaptation of an opera which most assuredly ran longer than ten minutes; obviously, much plot detail has been obscured. Nevertheless, this one is not as satisfying as the Feuillade film. And for those wondering about the title, there do appear a group of mermaids, albeit ones without fish tails.


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