The Cossack Whip (1916) with Viola Dana
For my eleventh Kickstarter campaign project, I am offering THE COSSACK WHIP, a 1916 dramatic film starring Viola Dana and directed by John H. Collins.
Collins was a major director during his brief career. His bold melodramas reinvigorated the flagging Edison studio, but his early death in the influenza epidemic of 1918 proved to be a tragedy for the film industry and his wife, leading lady Viola Dana.
THE COSSACK WHIP is one of his most famous films. Its ripped-from-the-headlines plot involves totalitarian brutality in Russia and features an infamously sadistic climax as Dana avenges her murdered family.
Dana plays Darya, a Russian peasant living in a small village with her father, sister, and future brother-in-law. All is idyllic but as a group of captured Bolsheviks are being marched to Siberia their comrades vow to rescue them. Sergius (Richard Tucker) of the Imperial Ballet is also a secret revolutionary and he rides out to help with the rescue. On the way, he meets Darya.
After much drama that involves treason and torture Darya joins the revolutionaries on a mission of revenge.
Since the cost of producing a professional DVD of a rare film is prohibitive for the individual, I've started this campaign to organize a collective effort to give this film back to the public in a nice print. While the video quality may not match that of my first project, ENCHANTMENT (1921), it should be very good. There may be some signs of deterioration as is usual with a 102-year-old film.
This is a new scan from the Library of Congress. I’ll commission a new music score. I do not plan to score this film myself. Composers I have worked with on past projects include Donald Sosin, David Drazin, and Ben Model.
This is the same process I pursued for putting ENCHANTMENT (1921), THE RESTLESS SEX (1920), FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE (1919), DUCKS AND DRAKES (1921), THE BRIDE'S PLAY (1922), BEAUTY'S WORTH (1922), APRIL FOLLY (1920), BURIED TREASURE (1921), ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1917), and DINTY (1920) into limited DVD circulation.
ENCHANTMENT, DUCKS AND DRAKES, and THE BRIDE'S PLAY have all aired on Turner Classic Movies; I’ve recently licensed BEAUTY’S WORTH for TCM broadcast and streaming. Both BEAUTY'S WORTH and THE BRIDE'S PLAY are now available on DVD thru Ben Model's Undercrank Productions. ENCHANTMENT and DUCKS AND DRAKES are available on BLU or DVD from Grapevine Video.
After I have edited as necessary and attached the new music, professional copies will be made and mailed to those who donated $25 or more. As with ENCHANTMENT, THE RESTLESS SEX, FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE, DUCKS AND DRAKES, THE BRIDE'S PLAY, BEAUTY'S WORTH, APRIL FOLLY, BURIED TREASURE, ON DANGEROUS GROUND, and DINTY I am offering a new DVD disk in a paper sleeve. Depending on the success of this campaign, I may be able to offer a disk in a DVD case with art (as I have done in all previous campaigns) to domestic donors.
MAILING COSTS PROHIBIT A DVD CASE TO INTERNATIONAL DONORS, but cover art will be available to those who want it. The entire process could take up to 3 months.
BOTTOM LINE: THE COSSACK WHIP is one of the few films Collins and Dana made together that has survived. While it may not be as famous as BLUE JEANS (1917), it’s an interesting look at the work of an early power couple in American films.
Risks and challenges
There really are no risks or challenges to this project. The great majority of donors (if not all) are knowledgeable about silent films and the various kinds of deterioration that can afflict them. No one will be expecting a pristine print. Composing a score can be an enormous and time-consuming task, and the overall turnaround time could be up to 30 days. Once I have the master DVD, I should be able to make copies and mail them to qualifying donors within a month. If the project does not fund, no donor pledges are completed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)