Nuits de feu (1937)
aka: Nights of Fire
A film directed by Marcel L'Herbier

Genre: Drama


19th Century Russia. State prosecutor Fedor Andreiev is presiding over the trial of a man who murdered his wife's lover. Despite a robust defence from the brilliant young lawyer Serge Rostoff, the accused man is found guilty and will be deported to Siberia. Having spoken to the condemned man, Fedor Andreiev sees a disturbing parallel with his own life. Convinced that his wife is having an affair with Rostoff, he stages his own suicide and disappears…
© 2012

Film Review

This dry historical melodrama is a world apart from the silent masterpieces that earned Marcel L'Herbier his reputation as one of finest filmmakers of his generation. Lacking the scale, visual appeal and dramatic impact of L'Herbier's earlier films, Nuits de feu is a comparatively low-key work, which would be easy to overlook were it not for some fine acting performances. Victor Francen and Gaby Morlay bring an emotional depth and commitment which is clearly lacking in other departments. L'Herbier's half-hearted direction and a lacklustre script fail to convey the power and humanity of the Tolstoi stories on which the storyline is based, although the film is beautifully shot, in the manner of the French poetic realists, with an oppressive sense of dark foreboding and cruel irony.
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Film Credits

  • Director: Marcel L'Herbier
  • Script: Marcel L'Herbier, T.H. Robert, Leo Tolstoy, Jean Sarment (dialogue)
  • Photo: Louis Née, Armand Thirard
  • Music: Jean Wiener
  • Cast: Gaby Morlay (Lisa Andreieva), Victor Francen (Fedor Andreiev), George Rigaud (Serge Rostoff), Madeleine Robinson (Macha), Sinoël (L'habitué des assises), Mia Slavenska (Ballerina), Paule Andral (La mère de Lisa), Gabriel Signoret (Le substitut Bobinine), Jane Loury (Madame Bobinine), Odette Talazac (Une tzigane), André Nox (Le président), René Bergeron (Un informateur), Jean Toulout (Balichev), René Génin (Client de Balichev), Paulette Burguet (La camériste), Albert Malbert (Le cocher), Yvonne Yma (La femme du cocher), Marguerite de Morlaye (Spectatrice à l'opéra), Luce Fabiole (Invitée aux fiançailles), Blanche Denège (Invitée aux fiançailles), Jane de Carol (Invitée aux fiançailles), Ernest Ferny (L'officier), Charles Dorat (Un prisonnier), Roger Monteaux (Le commissaire), Titys (Un magistrat)
  • Country: France
  • Language: French
  • Support: Black and White
  • Runtime: 98 min
  • Aka: Nights of Fire ; The Living Corpse

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