Saturday, June 23, 1928
It is unknown whether Pepito Perez was in the cast, or the crew, of this John Gilbert picture at MGM, but in a 1931 interview, Pepito mentioned having been involved with the film. According to the Turner Classic Movies website, “The Cossacks” is not available on home video at this time.
NEW YORK TIMES MOVIE REVIEW
The Cossacks (1928)
THE SCREEN; Scintillating Fun.
By MORDAUNT HALL
Published: June 25, 1928
After the bloodthirsty crook contraptions that have latterly decorated the Paramount screen, it is a joyous relief to witness at that theatre another of H. D’Abbie D’Arrast’s brilliantly directed comedies. This sparkling affair is known as “The Magnificent Flirt,” and while the story is no weightier than the bubbles in champagne, it is fashioned so delightfully that yesterday afternoon it kept the audience of young and old in a constant state of glee.
“The Magnificent Flirt” is one of those rarities in which the acting of all the players is of such excellence that it is not a question of criticism or comparison, but rather one of extending praise. As this film is unfurled there are charming dissolves, modernistic conceptions of furnishings, artistic high lights and shadows, coupled with an intelligent and natural development of the various incidents.
Mr. D’Arrast has the happy faculty of leaving enough to the imagination, but he puts his episodes together so that the spectator feels that nothing has been held back. Gales of meriment greeted the “morning after” of Count Castelle and Tim, a gentleman from Indiana. Without giving any direct filming of the nocturnal experiences of these two men, Mr. D’Arrast depicts these citizens of different republics asleep in bed. It is not long before you have more than a foggy notion of the exuberant spirits of the Count and Tim during their early morning hours, for a cabby reports that Castelle and his American friend had bought his (the cabby’s) none-toowell nourished horse and therefore the apprehensive butler, after stepping on a stray automobile horn, is compelled to awaken the sleeping men with:
“The horse is here.”
First the Count sits up in bed and soon Tim performs the same feat. There is in their actions every evidence of intemperance. The Count finds his voice and says:
“Send him up,” apparently not quite sure at that particular instant of the meaning of the word horse, or, as it was, “cheval.” The animal is not brought to the bedroom, but there ensues a funny continuation to this stretch as the Count and his American pal gradaully regain their thinking powers.
This yarn of a mother and daughter and a Count and his nephew happens within the shadow of the Eifel Tower. Florence Vidor and Albert Conti figure in the featured rôles, those of the mother and the uncle. Ned Sparks impersonates the philandering Tim, and he does so with genius. He portrays the stiff-necked species of water-wagon dodger, to whom the most melodious music is the gurgling of liquor as it is poured from a bottle. He finds even the moving of his eyes an effort after a thick night.
The winsome Miss Vidor has not neglected the matter of costumes and neither has Fifi. During one of the episodes it is with distinct chagrin that these two fair creatures discover that they have both invested in identical costumes. Listening to Fifi, Tim urges this young woman to stop bleating, asserting that he never worries because some other man has similar trousers to his.
The juvenile romance is supplied by Loretta Young and Matty Kemp. They both respond nicely to Mr. D’Arrast’s imaginative direction.
Mr. Conti proves himself a formidable rival of Adolphe Menjou. He conveys the Count’s feelings by simple expressions. When he makes his final and successful proposal of marriage to Florence Laverne (Miss Vidor) his eyes frequently dispense with the need of a subtitle. In this sequence, Mr. D’Arrast first shows a tête-á-tête dinner being served and then he skips to the demi-tasse stage, and one discovers Florence rubbing the rouge off the Count’s lips. The Count by a suspicion of an eyebrow movement permits the butler to appreciate that he (the Count) was not so keen on coffee at that moment and that he does not wish to be disturbed for a while.