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Letter Never Sent (1960) More at IMDbPro »Neotpravlennoye pismo (original title)


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Release Date:
27 June 1960 (Soviet Union) See more »
Four geologists are searching for diamonds in the wilderness of Siberia. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Encounters at the End of the World See more (13 total) »


  (in credits order)
Tatyana Samoylova ... Tanya
Evgeniy Urbanskiy ... Sergei
Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy ... Sabinine
Vasili Livanov ... Andrei
Galina Kozhakina ... Vera

Directed by
Mikhail Kalatozov 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Grigori Koltunov 
Valeri Osipov  screenplay (as V. Osipov)
Valeri Osipov  story (as V. Osipov)
Viktor Rozov 

Original Music by
Nikolai Kryukov 
Cinematography by
Sergey Urusevskiy 
Film Editing by
N. Anikina 
Production Design by
David Vinitsky 
Costume Design by
Leonid Naumov 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sergey Urusevskiy .... assistant director
Music Department
Arnold Roytman .... conductor (as A. Roytman)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Neotpravlennoye pismo" - Soviet Union (original title)
"The Unmailed Letter" - USA
See more »
97 min | USA:80 min
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

In 1995 the film was restored by and shown in United States upon the financial support from Francis Coppola.See more »


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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Encounters at the End of the World, 19 February 2009
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

Loss, purpose, and redemption, all in this harrowing adventure and visual tour-de-force by usual suspects Kalatozov/ Urusevsky.

An expedition of diamond hunters is dropped in the Siberian plateau with the mission of discovering a rumoured diamond vein. In the course of the movie diamonds acquire a further symbolic aspect as the purpose in life. As the expedition is befallen by a raging fire and forced to make a hazardous escape through burning logs, saving the map which points to the location of the much sought-after diamonds becomes a struggle to preserve purpose and meaning in a world that defies it. As the surviving members of the expedition stagger through the charred landscape, amidst billows of smoke and torrents of rain, nothing there to answer their pleas and curses but the echo of their voices, the world seems indifferent to their plight.

The star of the movie however is Urusevsky's cinematography. Kalatozov fails to harness his tremendous visual talent as he did in THE CRANES ARE FLYING, certain scenes flailing for attention but lacking the dramatic pull to justify them, but still someone who likes movies for their pictorial quality, for the endless possibilities of capturing images with a photographic lens and moving inside a thridimensional canvas; such a person will be left in awe and admiration of what Urusevsky achieves. His rapid tracking shots through branches of trees, as though the nature conspires to ensnare the protagonists, the amazing clarity of the closeups, the maize of hand-held shots thrusting the viewer right there in the middle of the action, the beautiful dutch angles transforming the geography of the landscape into something that can only exist for and by the camera.

Although the plot has its heart in the right place, much like its predecessor, it suffers from being too overwrought and from lapsing into moments of melodrama. Plot threads that are emphasized early on, like Sergei's unrequisite love and the growing tension with Tanya, are never really resolved and come to a screeching halt when the fire erupts. Traditional Soviet values, like the leader's dream of a Diamond City and the portrayal of civilization as a collective good, don't chime with my sensibilities. The score is often jarring and obtrusive but that's 50's cinema for you.

Overall this is a visually marvellous film aimed at the cinephiles who can appreciate such things.

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