France, 1924, 83mn 
Black and white, silent, fiction
Schastlivaya smert
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Счастливая смерть


 Schastlivaya smert

 L'Heureuse mort

Directed by : Sergey NADEZHDIN (Сергей НАДЕЖДИН)
Writing credits : Nikolay RIMSKY (Николай РИМСКИЙ)
Based on the comedy by La Comtesse de Baillehache
Nikolay RIMSKY (Николай РИМСКИЙ) ...Théodore Larue/Anselme Larue
Other persons :
Intertitles : Jean Faivre
Cinematography : Fédote Bourgassoff, Gaston Chelles, [Nicolas Roudakoff]
cast: Suzanne Bianchetti (Lucie Larue), Pierre Labry (Capitaine Mouche), René Maupré (Fayot), Léon Salem (theatre manager);
Companies : Albatros
Release Date in Russia : 03/12/1924

Plot synopsis
Théodore Larue is a Parisian dramatist whose latest premiere is a disaster. His reputation gone, he is persuaded to take a sea voyage, in the course of which, in the throes of acute mal de mer, he is swept overboard and lost. The press and the literary world react with an abrupt revaluation of his work, elevating him to the stature of France’s greatest dramatist. His widow finds herself in possession of a hugely valuable literary property… At which point, Larue, not drowned at all, inopportunely returns home. But, dramatist above all, he decides to masquerade as his colonialist brother Anselme, while industriously turning out posthumous works by Théodore. But then the real Anselme turns up with his Senegalese wife…
David Robinson,

L’Heureuse mort reveals an exceptional gift for comedy. The source, credited on the film as “from the comedy by the Comtesse de Baillehache” and elsewhere “from the libretto …”, remains untraced, but it provides a fine comic premise. <...>
The sharply distinguished dual roles of Théodore and Anselme afford Rimsky’s finest comic performance. Cinémagazine (12 December 1924) noted that “his reactions of stupefaction enrapture audiences. His gifts of characterization are truly astonishing. He is able, with scarcely perceptible physical changes, to transform himself completely”. Rimsky is admirably partnered by the enchanting Suzanne Bianchetti (1889-1936), who, in the words of Cinémagazine again, “this time abandons the roles of empresses [to become] the most gracious in the world, the pretty and witty Lucie Larue”. Particularly in the scenes of the “fatal” storm, as dramatically recalled by Lucie for the benefit of the French literary élite, Nadejdine seizes upon the current directorial mannerisms of the avant-garde, to use them with witty irony. Exceptionally for a French film, the intertitle writer, Jean Faivre, is specifically listed in the credit titles. A further oddity of the film is the interpolation of a somewhat redundant sequence of a duel between Larue and an opportunist literary agent, entirely done in rather elementary animation. The most likely explanation of this is that it was inserted in post-production to build up the running time of an otherwise admirably economical film.
The film was restored in 1986, from an original nitrate negative for French distribution deposited with the Cinémathèque Française in 1949 by the producer Alexandre Kamenka. The copy shown was made in 1986 on black-and-white stock.
David Robinson,

Selected in the following festivals :
- Fondation Jérôme Seydoux. L'Aventure Albatros - 1, Paris (France), 2016
- Pordenone Silent Film Festival, Pordenone (Italy), 2009