|Index||3 reviews in total|
The film has three parts, each of them a screen version of "The Roads We Take", "The Ransom of Red Chief" and (sorry, I forget the exact title) a story of a burglar suffering from rheumatism who stumbles into the owner of the house he attempts to rob, and he happens to be a rheumatic, too. The film has an all-star cast. I've never seen anybody better than Vitsin as Sam and Smirnov as Bill, and the kid is simply holy terror, absolutely unrivalled. Though the film is black-and-white, it doesn't spoil the film any. Side-splitting and a real pleasure to watch the actors play.
This is a nice troika of films each of them is screening of some story by O'Henry. All movies were made with humor and what is also important with great respect for the source. But i want particularly dwell on the first movie,'The Roads We Take'. I think that many cinematographic discoveries and means were used in this movie two years before they were shown in Sergio Leone first movie of his famous trilogy. Close-ups, black humor, unusual perspectives -- 'The Roads We Take' is very innovative in this sense. In my opinion this movie is a genuine masterpiece, Gaidai foresaw many things which then used and developed by Leone. i rate this trilogy or troika as i called it above by 9,5 Such a shame that this masterpiece is not well-known in the West.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Strictly Business' or, 'Delovye lyudi' which I'm assuming is the
Russian translation into English characters for the IMDb, is one of
those virtually unknown masterpieces, as it seems, being that it has
but two votes and reviews as of this writing. The film is actually a
trio of stories, however they really seem to flow nicely into one
another. The first two segments are very promising and hold the
viewer's interest well, displaying O. Henry's unique style and range of
writing, which is something that you can clearly see he has passed down
to countless writers, Stephen King being the most successful. His
talents as a writer were clearly diverse in being able to write stories
that invoke so many different emotions at once, one after another as if
you were really living it. The black and white aspect doesn't bother me
one bit, although it's slightly puzzling because color film was
available at the time, and the film doesn't ever come off as being too
cheap to have been available to afford color print.
The film is delightfully light-hearted and slapstick comedy a lot of the time, but there are certain images which are scary, and I would say remain frightening even to this day, fifty years after the film was made. It's like watching Buster Keaton in 'The General' hanging out with a couple of Russian cowboys, and that bratty kid from 'Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory' remixed with hints of 'An Andalusian Dog'. That being said, I thought the film was great, but the third story of the film is by far the longest and becomes slightly tedious to make it through to the end, when the whole time I had high expectations for some sinister twist to it. Overall, very good unknown film, and mad props to the obscure and faded Russian characters who brought us this piece of goodness. Hopefully there can be a revival in schlock like this, because it was great.
STRICTLY BUSINESS, or DELOVYE LYUDI -----8/10
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