Video — 1 online resource (172 minutes) Digital: data file.
The Late Mathias Pascal is a film of great distinction and virtuoso style, adapted and directed by Marcel l’Herbier from a novel by Luigi Pirandello. Remarkably cast with some of the great actors of that era: Ivan Mosjoukine (as Mathias Pascal), Michel Simon, Lois Moran, Pierre Batcheff and Marcelle Pradot. The film also boasts famous stylized sets designed by Alberto Cavalcanti and Lazare Meerson, seen here to best advantage in a stunning tinted and toned print restored by the Cinématheque Française, and accompanied by a beautiful large-orchestra score composed and conducted by Timothy Brock. Mathias, an eccentric dreamer, is trapped in the undertakings of daily life as he suffers his days in a loveless marriage, a dead end job, and tyrannized by his ungrateful mother-in-law. Grief-stricken by the death of his mother and infant daughter, Mathias flees to Monte Carlo, where a run of luck at roulette wins him a fortune. After his death is falsely reported, Mathias leaps at the chance of a second and adventurous life in Rome. Both tragedy and comedy, The Late Mathias Pascal explores the struggles and possibilities of a man in search of happiness in L’Herbier’s most celebrated film. Critic David Melville wrote: "The White Russian exile Ivan Mosjoukine was arguably the greatest male star of the silent screen. Imagine an actor who combined the matinée idol looks of John Barrymore with the smoldering sexual magnetism of Valentino, the deft physical comedy of Chaplin with the dark Gothic creepiness of Lon Chaney. It sounds impossible, of course - unless you've seen Mosjoukine in action."This is a co-production of L’Herbier’s Cinegraphic company, and Alexandre Kamenka’s Films Albatros, the Parisian home of the émigré Russian screen colony and makers of many of the most prestigious films of the decade. L’Herbier at this time was among cinema’s leading avant-garde directors, the equal of Fritz Lang, Abel Gance, and Erich von Stroheim, and The Late Mathias Pascalis considered one of his best films, full of picturesque tricks, "spiritual" angles, and dream sequences as it passes from rural chamber-film to burlesque fantasy, with an incursion into expressionist comedy of manners.