During the early Bolshevik era in Russia there were many serious experimental, industrial and propaganda films but there was still room for the occasional comedy.
"Kukla S Millionami" (The Doll With The Millions) (1928) was precisely one of those exceptions in a film industry that was more interested in avant-garde films or political propaganda. The director, Herr Sergei Komarov, had earlier done another comedy, "Potseluy Meri Pikford" ( The Kiss From Mary Pickford ) (1927), using, via montage techniques, the famous American couple's ( Frau Mary Pickford und Herr Douglas Fairbanks ) visit to Russia one year before. This latter movie was actually the astonishing Herr Komarov's debut as a director ( he was formerly an actor). These two very funny comedies certainly stand out amidst the otherwise sober and humorless productions of the day.
The film tells the story of Madame Collins, a rich old Parisian woman who is on her deathbed. Her two nephews, Herr Paul and Herr Pierre, are idle youngsters who care very much for their auntie, especially for her millions. When Madame Collins finally dies, the rich widow leaves all her fortune to a niece, Frau Maria Ivanova . No one knew about her existence because when Madame Collins' cousin escaped from Moscow she married a Russian and hid Maria's documents inside her doll. Madame Collins' will describes her heiress as 17 years old and with a birthmark on her shoulder. However, she will not actually receive her inheritance until her wedding day. Shocked by this development, Pierre and Paul immediately head for Moscow in the hopes of finding Maria Ivanova and marrying her for her millions.
"Kukla S Millionami" is a classic comedy full of the characteristics of this film genre, that is to say, funny gags with misunderstandings, chases and hidden identities and intentions. It's a funny, face paced story featuring resourceful comic actors like Vladimir Fogel as the elegant and debt plagued dandy Pierre and, Igor Illinsky as the more down to earth Paul. The feminine characters are also two different types; the Muscovite heiress ( Frau Ada Voitsik ) is a responsible science student in contrast with the Parisian Frau Blanche ( Frau Galina Kravchenko ), a dancer with a lot of temperament but not much talent. These four characters will interact and be involved in funny situations in a film that owes a debt to classic American comedies.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must track down an unknown relative who also happens to be a rich heiress.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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