Lev KuleshovUSSR73 minutes1924B&WSilent
Extraordinary indeed! The film's fetching title suggests something of the impudent wit of Kuleshov's satire of Western views of the Soviet Union: the director had only to read the perfidious accounts of his comrades then common in British and American newspapers, filled with racist and anti-Semitic invective, to find the source for his rollicking comedy. Mr. West, director of the YMCA and Harold Lloyd lookalike, embarks on a mission to civilize the mad Bolshie "savages" accompanied by his sixgun-packing pal Cowboy Jeddie, played by director Boris Barnet (The Girl with the Hatbox). Falling victim to a band of thieves, including a louche countess, Mr. West initially feels confirmed in his prejudice, until he takes a tour of Moscow and discovers the contrary truth. Tongue planted deeply in cheek, Kuleshov takes wicked delight in skewering Western stereotypes of Soviet citizens, even as he employs the methods (quick edits, cross-cutting) and genres (western, slapstick farce) of Hollywood filmmaking for his revolutionary purpose.
Digital restoration courtesy of MK2 and Lobster Films.