Archive for January 17th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USSR 1926 73m) not on DVD

Aka. Dura Lex; Po zokanu

For luck

d  Lev Kuleshov  w  Lev Kuleshov, Viktor Shkovsky  story  “The Unexpected” by Jack London  ph  Konstantin Kuznetsov  ed  Lev Kuleshov  art  Isaak Makhalis

Alexandra Kokhlova (Eidth Nelson), Sergei Komarov (Hans Nelson), Vladimir Fogel (Michael Dennin), Pyotr Galadzhev (Harkey), Porfiri Podobed (Dutchy),

Considering he was known as the Father of Soviet Cinema, it’s amazing how anonymous and marginalised Lev Kuleshov’s work has become.  When he burst into cinematic folklore in 1924 with his extravagantly titled satirical comedy The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr West in the Land of the Bolsheviks, his place seemed secure, and yet within a matter of a few years, he’d been supplanted by Vertov, Eisenstein, Dovzhenko and Pudovkin.

He was well versed in many facets of the arts and began his film career as a set designer while still in his teens.  He was only 25 when Mr West was made, a year younger even than Eisenstein when he made his debut with Strike later the same year.  And unlike the other aforementioned Soviet greats, he lived into his seventies, with all those years retrospectively ahead of him.  He’s seen very much as the leader in the Soviet montage school, and yet the irony there is that much of his influence came from analysis of foreign fare, from the comedies of Mack Sennett and Harold Lloyd – the latter a clear influence on Mr West – to the dramas of D.W.Griffith and Abel Gance.  It was through them that he picked up his fascination with the incorporation of editing, and especially Gance, whose quick-fire editing, first really demonstrated in La Roue, was a massive influence on the development of montage under Kuleshov and Eisenstein.  By the time he came to make his most famous and best film, By the Law, it was no surprise he turned to another American, Jack London, for his inspiration. (more…)

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