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by Camillo Walzel

Genre: Operetta
Format of Original Source: Plot summary
Recommended Adaptation Length: 60 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


The story is an interesting one. Vladimir Samoiloff, a young lieutenant in the Russian army, while masquerading in girl’s costume under the name of Fatinitza, encounters a Russian general, Count Timofey Kantschakoff, who falls desperately in love with him. He manages to escape from him, and subsequently meets the General’s niece, the Princess Lydia, whom he knows only as Lydia, and the two fall in love. Hearing of the attachment, the General transfers the young officer to the Russian outposts. The first act opens in camp at Rustchuk. Julian, a war correspondent, has just been brought in as a spy, but is recognized by Vladimir as an old friend. They plan private theatricals, in which Vladimir takes a female part. The General unexpectedly appears at the play, and recognizes Vladimir as his Fatinitza. When the opportunity presents itself, he resumes his love-making, but it is interrupted by the arrival of Lydia, whose noble rank Vladimir learns for the first time. Any danger of recognition, however, is averted by the correspondent, who tells Lydia that Fatinitza is Vladimir’s sister. The doting old General commends Fatinitza to the Princess, and goes off to inspect his troops. In his absence some Bashi-Bazouks surprise the camp and capture Lydia, Vladimir, and Julian, leaving the latter behind to arrange a ransom.


A Russian lieutenant spends much of the story dressed as a girl.  Is there a plausible reason for that to happen in a modern adaptation?  If so, there are probably other storylines more interesting than this one…but here’s a starting point at least.


A word of caution:  This plot summary was written by 19th-century literary critic George Upton, who often mixes personal opinion with summation.  You would be advised to consult the original source material, if the general plot appeals to you.


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