She’s a Bolshevik sniper with forty kills to her name. He’s an aristocratic officer in the service of the czar. Let’s just say that this ain’t no romantic comedy. Director Yakov Protazanov goes for grit in this warped fairy tale of the Russian Revolution.
Since tomorrow is the launch of the Russia in Classic Film Blogathon, it is fitting that we talk about a Russian movie, in this case, The Forty-First. Our leading lady is one of the feistiest of the silent era. She’s a sniper and she’s good at her job, boasting forty kills. She keeps a tally on her rifle strap. The titular forty-first– oh dear, she missed.
Now you know and I know that it is not always the best idea to embark on a romance with someone you have tried to kill. However, no one seems to have told our sniper this little fact. Things cannot end well.
I absolutely love the subverted fairy tale plot and the gritty setting, not to mention the decidedly anti-damsel heroine.
One of my favorite love stories! (What does this say about me?) She’s a sniper with forty kills to her name. He’s an enemy officer who is targeted as her forty-first. One missed shot later, the officer is not dead but a prisoner. Do I even need to say that a dark romance is in the offing? A gritty tale of revolution and class divide, this is a lesser-known picture from the legendary Yakov Protazanov, best remembered today for the pioneering Aelita, Queen of Mars.
Continue reading “The Forty-First (1927) A Silent Film Review”
He’s a Bolshevik. She’s a princess. Can they find love? Of course they will! Riding roughshod over historical accuracy and narrative logic, The Volga Boatman still manages to be a rollicking (if air-headed) good time.