Along Came Mary: “A Child of the Big City”

A short silent film about a big-city poor girl, who becomes well-to-do, in Russia, A Child of the Big City (1914) was made several years before the Bolshevik revolution and the vile slaughter of the royal family.

It presents pre-Soviet Russia, with urban activity and individual longings, and the impoverished chief character, Mary (Elena P. Smirnova), marries into wealth but proves to be a terrible human being.  She brings to the marriage, you see, some deplorable demotic ways, and her naive husband (Viktor Krawzow) is made miserable.  Sometimes it is only the thought of Mary’s earlier romantic affection that keeps him from shooting himself.

It is a sad (and apolitical) film crafted by the gifted Russian director, Yevgeni Bauer, whose execution is certifiably interesting and innovative despite some too-long scene takes.  Those takes are in themselves interesting, though.

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