A sarcastic comedy about the Imperial Russian bureaucracy, based on the eponymous novella by Yuri Tynyanov. Set in the reign of Emperor Paul I. A copying error by a military scribe turns the Russian words for "the lieutenants, however" into what looks like "lieutenant Kizhe". The Tsar reads the error, and wants to meet this (non-existent) Lieutenant Kizhe. His courtiers are at first too frightened to contradict the Tsar, but then the fiction turns out to be all too convenient for them. So Lieutenant Kizhe gets himself exiled to Siberia, recalled from exile, promoted, and married. He dies and receives a state funeral. In many ways, he is the most charming and lovable character in the film, even though he remains throughout the film a "confidential person, without a shape". Written by
Steve Shelokhonov, rev. by Skripach
Did You Know?
Though the film is little known today, the five-movement suite Prokofiev arranged from his music for it (usually called "Lieutenant Kijé Suite") has become a standard classical concert piece and has been recorded often. See more
In a scene after 'Colonel Kizhe' returns from Siberia, in one shot his escort is standing with a curtain on his left and in the next he holds the curtain in his right hand obscuring the left side of his body. See more
The prisoner is confidential, and has no shape.
Referenced in Doc Hollywood
Sergei Prokofiev See more