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Outskirts is an internationally renowned masterpiece of early sound cinema. In a remote Russian village during World War I, colorful and nuanced characters experience divided loyalties: ... See full summary »
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The sign in front of the capitalist-run cork factory in the USA, where the workers go on strike at the beginning of the film, reads "ROCFELLER & Co". At the time the film was released in 1926, US billionaire John D. Rockefeller, Sr., founder of Standard Oil Co., was the richest man in the world. In fact, Rockefeller ranks as the wealthiest man ever to have lived. His peak wealth is estimated to have been $340 billion. See more »
During the "road rally" sequence in Part Three, the shadow of the camera car is briefly visible, along with that of the cameraman, cranking furiously. See more »
[Selling newspapers, shouting]
3 cents! Arthur Stern stands up for Gordon Stern! 3 cents! The will of Gordon Stern! Son to avenge father's death! Extra! Read all about it! 3 cents!
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Fascinating piece of Post-Civil War (Russian) film-making
Miss Mend is a 4-and-a-quarter hour sprint that will leave you breathless in its sheer epic expanse and non-stop running, driving, swimming and horse-back riding action - surely the most athletic silent movie ever!
Some of the other reviewers have guessed at the historical context of the film, albeit inaccurately. The Bolshevik revolution was over by 1926; the post-WWI Civil War in Russia actually had ended in 1922 (16 million Russians died between WWI and the Civil War). The Bolsheviks were in sole power, but it would still be 4 more years before Stalin consolidated and took sole dictatorial control of the Soviet Union. Stalin would ultimately micro-manage much of Russian film production - but not yet. Thus, and here I am guessing, Russian film makers probably had more freedom for these few years to experiment, and be less heavy-handed in their propaganda, then they soon would be. Hence, a Western-style series of films, including a lot of explicit criticism of Communism, which I doubt Uncle Joe would have allowed later, even if it is expressed by the bad guys.
And who are the "bad guys" exactly? We have to play along with the fact that those who see the Communists as evil are the bad guys; those looking to help the Soviet Union the good guys.
The plot is absurd, and one has to really over-look a lot of sloppiness in the details; just a few examples: 2 reporters locked in small coffin-shaped boxes in the hold of a ship for its entire journey from America to Leningrad - a 10 or 14 day trip - without food or bathrooms; the improbability that the Westerners and Russian people would be able to communicate with each other, given the unlikelihood that the Russians spoke English or the English Russian (French was the preferred second language of early 20th century Russia). And so on.
One scene appears to be the inspiration for "Weekend at Bernie's": one of the reporters grabs and nods the head of the unconscious Arthur Stern as he is questioned by his co-horts. He remains unconscious as he is carried from the car he is in - but not before opening his eyes and looking around just before being removed from the car.
The attempts at recreating Western or American life are hilarious - others have mentioned the reference to "Rocfeller and Co."; how about the "Police Office" sign, instead of Police Station? However, these are more than made up for by some outstanding visions of lovely Leningrad (today back to St. Petersburg).
Finally, the funniest title card in the history of Silent Film may have appeared in this film: "Who's next in line for an enema?" Fascinating film history. Try to watch at least some of it.
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