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The Chess Player (Le Jouer D'Echecs) is based on an old European fable about a despotic king who came to grief via his obsession with a mechanical chess-playing machine. For the purposes of this film, the fable is incorporated in an inspirational story about a young, courageous Polish woman, a patriot in the Joan of Arc mold. The action takes place during the reign of Czarish Catherine II, when Poland was under the thumb of the Russians. The film's dramatic highlight was one of the most astonishing sequences in all of French cinema: On the verge of madness because her beloved Polish army is being mercilessly slaughtered by the Russians, the heroine sits down at her piano and begins playing maniacally -- whereupon she hallucinates that the Poles have won the battle and are marching homeward in triumph Filmed in 1927, The Chess Player was released in the U.S. three years later.. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi