Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Vsevolod Pudovkin: The Deserter - Дезертир (1933)

Directed by : Vsevolod PUDOVKIN
Writing credits : Nina AGADZHANOVA, M. KRASNOSTAVSKY, Aleksandr LAZEBNIKOV
Cast
Sergey GERASIMOV
Sergey KOMAROV
Dmitriy KONTSOVSKY
Vasili KOVRIGIN
Boris LIVANOV
Tamara MAKAROVA

Cinematography : Anatoli GOLOVNIA
Production design : Sergey KOZLOVSKI
Music : Yuri SHAPORIN
Sound : Yevgeni NESTEROV
Companies : Mejrabpomfilm
Release date in Russia : 19/09/1933



While the crushing of the labor movement in Germany during the two years devoted by V. I. Pudovkin to the production of his first dialogue motion picture has robbed it of much of its timeliness, the main theme of "Deserter," now at the Cameo Theatre, remains unaffected by the triumph of Hitlerism.
The filmed story of the young Hamburg metal worker (Boris Livanof) who becomes faint-hearted in the course of a lengthy strike of dockers and shipyard workers, and is sent to Soviet Russia by a farseeing labor leader (B. Kovrigin) to be cured of his temporary weakness, will interest admirers of good camera work and direction and will be applauded by class-conscious workers. Some of the latter, however, may resent the slurs cast upon the "Social Democratic betrayers of labor" who counseled arbitration when the strikers and their families were practically starved out.
Pudovkin again demonstrates his ability to hold screen audiences, but be could have reduced the running time of "Deserter" by about fifteen minutes without lessening its value. The best acting is done by some of the secondary characters and by the masses in the clashes with the police and in the scenes of industrial activity and proletarian festivities in Soviet Russia. What might be labeled a Socialist happy ending is achieved by having the conscience-stricken hero confess his faults, return to Hamburg and carry the banner of the strikers in a desperate battle with the police.

The New York Times

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