4 user 11 critic

Happiness (1935)

Schaste (original title)
A hapless loser (with the surname of Loser) undergoes misadventures with avaracious clergy, a tired horse, and a walking granary (among other things) on his road to collectivized happiness.

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A married couple have a small apartment in Moscow. When an old friend of the husband's arrives in the city, he is unable to find lodgings. Kolia, the husband, invites his friend to move in with them.

Director: Abram Room
Stars: Nikolai Batalov, Lyudmila Semyonova, Leonid Yurenev
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

This documentary tells the story of film director Aleksandr Medvedkin, throughout his life a sincere believer in communism, whose films were repeatedly banned in the Soviet Union. Modern ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Léonor Graser, Nikolai Izvolov, Kira Paramonova
Le bonheur (1935)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Marcel L'Herbier
Stars: Gaby Morlay, Charles Boyer, Paulette Dubost
Po zakonu (1926)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A five-person team of gold prospectors in the Yukon has just begun to enjoy great success when one of the members snaps, and suddenly kills two of the others. The two survivors, a husband ... See full summary »

Director: Lev Kuleshov
Stars: Aleksandra Khokhlova, Sergey Komarov, Vladimir Fogel
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Pretty kolkhoz heroine is summoned to Moscow where she meets Stalin as a reward for her labor achievements.

Director: Aleksandr Medvedkin
Stars: Leonid Alekseev, Tatyana Barysheva, Zinaida Bokareva
Chess Fever (1925)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

With an international chess tournament in progress, a young man becomes completely obsessed with the game. His fiancée has no interest in it, and becomes frustrated and depressed by his ... See full summary »

Directors: Vsevolod Pudovkin, Nikolai Shpikovsky
Stars: José Raúl Capablanca, Vladimir Fogel, Anna Zemtsova
Level Five (1997)
Documentary | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The French computer programmer Laura inherits the task of making a computer game of the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. She searches the internet for information on the battle, and ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Catherine Belkhodja, Kenji Tokitsu, Nagisa Ôshima
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A peasant comes to St. Petersburg to find work. He unwittingly helps in the arrest of an old village friend who is now a labor leader. The unemployed peasant is also arrested and sent to ... See full summary »

Directors: Vsevolod Pudovkin, Mikhail Doller
Stars: Aleksandr Chistyakov, Vera Baranovskaya, Ivan Chuvelyov
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A girl Parasha Pitunova comes to Moscow from a deep province, eventually she arrives at a house. This is a story about the house and its inhabitants.

Director: Boris Barnet
Stars: Vera Maretskaya, Vladimir Fogel, Yelena Tyapkina
King Lear (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Directors: Grigori Kozintsev, Iosif Shapiro
Stars: Jüri Järvet, Elza Radzina, Galina Volchek
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The film chronicles the adventures of an American, "Mr. West," and his faithful bodyguard and servant Jeddie, as they visit the land of the horrible, evil Bolsheviks. Through various ... See full summary »

Director: Lev Kuleshov
Stars: Porfiri Podobed, Boris Barnet, Aleksandra Khokhlova
The Patriots (1933)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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 »

Director: Boris Barnet
Stars: Aleksandr Chistyakov, Sergey Komarov, Yelena Kuzmina


Credited cast:
Pyotr Zinovyev ...
Khmyr - an ill-fated mujik
Anna Khmyrova - the mujik's wife
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mikhail Gipsi ...
Taras Platonovich
Viktor Kulakov
V. Lavrentyev
G. Mirgorian
Lidiya Nenasheva ...
V. Uspensky


A hapless loser (with the surname of Loser) undergoes misadventures with avaracious clergy, a tired horse, and a walking granary (among other things) on his road to collectivized happiness. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama




Release Date:

7 April 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Happiness  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Featured in The Train Rolls On (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The First Bolshevik / Saint Epiphanius in the bottom of the river
24 March 2012 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Happiness as labor, sure enough. A farmer sent by his wife to find it, finds instead a wholly absurd Tsarist Russia where a saint in name would sooner drown than let go a bundle of rubles to the bottom of a river. But does he find it, you would think at long last, when a more subtly absurd Revolution sweeps the countryside?

What a strange, uplifting joy to be able to see this silent Soviet comedy about a hapless schmuck caught in the wheels of a callous world. The filmmaker could have gone for a harmless Chaplin effect, assuming for a moment Stalin's censors stayed their hand, benevolent fates setting up pratfalls all the while taking care of life. The schmuck triumphs because he's pure inside, or a natural performer. But Chaplin was not honest with us. He was a hard worker, a staunch Marxist, but hard work is never a value in his films; no, he made his fortunes by selling people the Dream.

The inspiration here is Buster Keaton, the stone face mute in the face of unfathomable mishap. Dogged effort.

Let's unpack this a little. The wife is strong and resolute to the end, a hard worker, and it pays off for her. But this is not one of those amazingly farcical works dubbed socialist realist at the time and favored by Stalin, celebrating the flipside of that Dream as robust heroes of labor triumph in the fields in the name of the people. These fields are barren, dusty, crops are nowhere. Members of the commune are not all of them content worker bees, they are also cruel, weak, suspicious, human. Filthy brigands stalk the perimeters, the first true revolutionaries for Bakhunin let's not forget. The workers attack them with watermelons, the fruits of labor wasted on a squabble.

But this is not simple criticism or direct confrontation with the regime, which sure enough would have earned Medvedkin a swift execution. Our gain is that this man was forced to find ways to dream further than the state-sponsored Dream had imagination to apprehend him.

So what does he do? He envisions images with enough weight and shadow so that we fill the shape. He sketches dreamlike edges only. Anxious air. The man whipping his wife as she plows the field, otherwise they starve. A shaggy horse towing on its back a wooden cabin as it staggers to grab a meagre bite of hay. A grain storage room absconding on human feet. The man tasked to guard it mystified by the over-sized rifle he's given to guard it with. The same man later hidden in a chest and discovered by authorities by his sicle protruding from the chest.

Make no mistake, the film is speaking about Soviet life in the fields. Its realism is the restless dream, the artifice, the world a size it doesn't fit the people.

Curiously enough, it got past the censors but was mostly panned by the press. His next film didn't, a major loss for us. Soon after, he was rebuked by Party sycophants for daring to speak in favor of Eisenstein's Bezhin Meadow, then in production and soon to be likewise axed and destroyed. By then, the late 30's, it was all over for everyone, the film trains permanently derailed. On the other side, Buster Keaton had missed his own place in a revolution and was on his way to become a weary, beaten old man like the protagonist here.

See if you can find Chris Marker's Last Bolshevik, a documentary where Medvedkin in his old age reminisces on all this.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Happiness (1935) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: