Dir: Alexandre Volkoff
France 1921-23, 383 minutes
An epic of melodramatic villainy in ten episodes, The House of Mystery emerged in 1923 as a triumph of the ciné-roman genre that was a staple of the French film industry before WWI. Made by a team of exiles recently fled from the Russian Revolution, the story centres around Julien Villandrit (Ivan Mosjoukine) and his courtship with Régine de Bettigny (Hélène Darly), a romance that inspires bitter jealousy in Henri Corradin, Julien’s malevolent associate (played by Charles Vanel, a specialist in moustache-twirling who went on to a number of roles for Clouzot). The love triangle sparks a glorious stream of plot twists, disguises and cliffhangers, with visual storytelling that is consistently compelling and rich.
Presented in four screenings across two days, The House of Mystery is a completely different proposition to our other six-and-a-half-hour marathon, The Cremaster Cycle. Nonetheless it promises to be a unique matinee experience, thanks in no small part to the efforts of nimble-fingered accompanist John Sweeney.
Saturday 8th April
11:00-13:00: Episodes 1, 2, & 3
16:00-17:20: Episodes 4 & 5
Sunday 9th April
11:00-13:00: Episodes 6, 7, & 8
15:30-17:00: Episodes 9 & 10