Fun Size Review: The Forty-First (1927)

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.

Ada Vojtsik and Ivan Koval-Samborsky do excellent work as the star-crossed and politically confused lovers of the tale and Ivan Shtraukh is completely believable as the Bolshevik commander but the real star of the show is the gritty direction and cinematography.


How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.

Let’s see, the heroine has forty kills before the hero shows up and the movie is called The Forty-First. How do you think it’s going to end?

If it were a dessert it would be: Bittersweet Condensed Milk Fudge. A whole lot of dark stuff in a teeny-tiny package.

You can read my full-length review here, which also covers the highly romantic sound/color remake directed by Grigori Chukhrai.

Availability: Alas, the only version seems to be a ratty VHS transfer that sometimes shows up on eBay. Here’s hoping it gets a better release soon because it’s excellent.


  1. nitrateglow

    I checked out the 1950s remake the other day and loved it. That only increases my appetite for the silent version. Wouldn’t it be great if Criterion released a double feature with both versions?

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      Yes, it’s definitely a juicy part.

      While the silent film is pretty hard to find, the sound remake is available to watch legally and for free with English subtitles on Mosfilm’s official YouTube channel. It takes a much more romantic approach than the silent but is quite excellent.

      (Mosfilm has disabled embedding on its videos but just click the “watch on YouTube” link and you’ll be good to go)

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