Yussuf and Aliosha are two shipwrecked sailors on an island in the Caspian Sea. They start working as sailor and mechanic for the fishing boats of the "Lights of the Communism" kolkhoz. ... See full summary »
Lightweight Barnet Shows Horse Racing In 1940 Moscow
Betting at the racetrack may sound like a decadent capitalist pursuit but it's the basis for Soviet auteur Boris Barnet's cute if lightweight entry. There is nothing political or ideological about this one. Trofimov, an elderly jockey (played by Sergei Blinnikov) been riding as a jockey since the turn of the century, though the Moscow Hippodrome crowd now mocks him for his slowness. But despite his 64 years he is strong enough to defeat his rival at arm wrestling. The scene moves to the country where Trofimov's granddaughter Maria(sweetly played by Aleksandra Denissova)is parachute jumping before a crowd . She receives by bicycle courier a recording from him, inviting her to the city as he is getting married again. Her boyfriend Marechka is too shy to tell her how he feels and consults with his friend the barber. In the city a little boy helps Maria sneak into the Hippodrome. Two bettors try to pick her brain for advice on the horses, when they find out who she is, do well enough to splurge in the adjoining restaurant, and then leave her to pay the bill. Amusingly,she pours all the different liquors they have ordered and not finished into one large kvass container she had brought from the country. She takes her grandfather back to the collective farm, where there are lovely shots of the stable horses in the morning mist. But he doesn't like it there and she has to chase after him It turns out the horse she has borrowed to stop him, named Egorka, is remarkably fast, so he returns with her to do something with that. A subplot involves the elderly woman doctor of the village (played by Anna Komolova) whose car keeps getting stuck on the road. Finally she decides to get a horse and wouldn't you know it the one she wants is Egorka. But a year later they are all back in Moscow, with Marechka now riding Egorka for Trofimov. Maria faints with excitement when their horse triumphs. Toward the end there is another nice image, of the revolving doors of the Hippodrome entrance, with the young lovers caught inside them. This is a pleasant little charmer, with good use of Russian character actors, even if it is a minor work in Barnet's career.
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