|Index||2 reviews in total|
Jim Ripl (Sergei Vecheslov, who looks like Conrad Veidt), an engineer
at a military industrial establishment, is accused by his fellow
workers of being a traitor after he invents a child-sized robot capable
of fulfilling almost any task. Although Ripl sees the creation as being
beneficial to the worker, the workers themselves fear that robots will
make their very existence redundant and destroy the little bot.
Six months later, Ripl is on the other side, unveiling an army of eight- foot high robots to the capitalist leaders of the establishment. Ripl still hopes to win his former colleagues over with his creations, but the leaders have different ideas
This is a typically political Soviet sci-fi in which the invention of the robot is seen as taking the very purpose of the working classes away. It's surprising that, in an era in which the automation was still a work of fiction, there were such serious fears concerning the repercussions of replacing men with robots in the work place.
Naturally, this being the Communist Soviet Union, the whole thing is seen from the worker's perspective, with leadership figures seen as brutal and callous. From the very first shot, we see images of the working class sleeping in the streets and queuing at homeless shelters and this is before the robots put them out of work!
This is a very bizarre film, and at time pretty amateurish. The robots don't look as bad as some of those in serials from around the same time, and the acting is adequate, but the direction is slack and cinematography is quite raw.
At least twice, the political ponderings are broken by musical numbers in a night club! And on the subject of music, Ripl uses a unique method of remote control for the robots here: a whistle and a saxophone! Fans of action though will be glad to know it's not all just class war dialogue, as the robots go crazy during the climax, killing and crushing anyone who gets in their way.
While this isn't exactly a forgotten classic, it's pretty unique and a worthy novelty for its historical, political and technical standing. Just don't expect it to come out on DVD any time soon!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cool film and effects with the robots until the last part. I wanted to see what the world was going to look like with the robots replacing the workers and then a world revolution. Guess they wanted to speed up the process. Ended like a cheap Bella Lugosi film. Reminded me of The Phantom Creeps on a larger budget. BTW, the other review says the inventor wanted to make these robots to help the workers. I do not agree with that plot opinion. My take was he wanted to invent the robots to create a mass unemployment so there would then be a world revolution and communism everywhere. He was clearly disenchanted at the beginning with the current system and actually said that was his purpose of creating robots to replace the workers. On several occasions he tries to protect the workers from the robots until his end at the hands of the evil aristocrat. Which was a lame plot. So, what was the whole point since this was a state funded film and obviously had a message to it? Perhaps that the workers should be happy in manual labor jobs? Not those fancy German factory jobs where you are worked to death? That engineers are not your friends? There would be the great purge there in only about a year and it effected many of the skilled workers and engineers not just the military elite. We definitely see that class battle in the film between the workers and the college educated. Considering the way the film ended in such a brutish abrupt way, I think this was targeted to the peasant class. There was also a musical number done that I believe was to make fun of the Germans because it featured a male singer with an effeminate voice, and the accent was not French and it definitely was not a Russian nightclub. The lyrics were not translated in the version I watched but I bet they had a message or joke there against western culture. I watched it on Youtube under the title Loss Of Feeling, some people who understand Russian added subtitles to the film (except for the nightclub song part, pity). You have to select the CC function, the subtitles are not on the actual uploaded video. Still, since I am a fan of old robot films I'm giving this a 6. It would have gotten 10 from me but I'm not a communist and the way the film ended was rushed and lazy.
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