7.2/10
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8 user 2 critic

Moscow Laughs (1934)

Vesyolye rebyata (original title)
Merry Fellows was the first Soviet musical comedy. Set in Odessa and Moscow in the 1930's. Shepherd Kostya Potekhin (Utyosov) is mistaken for an international concert star. He falls in love... See full summary »

Director:

(as G. V. Aleksandrov)

Writers:

(as G. V. Aleksandrov), (as N. R. Erdman) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Leonid Utyosov ...
Kostya Potekhin
...
Anyuta - the Housemaid
Mariya Strelkova ...
Yelena - Child of the Foreign Trade Union
Elena Tyapkina ...
Anyuta's Stepmother (as Ye. Tyapkina)
...
Mortician (as F.N. Kurikhin)
Arnold Arnold ...
Fraschini - the conductor from Paraguay (as G. Arnold)
Robert Erdman ...
German music teacher (as R. Yerdman)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marya Ivanovna
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Storyline

Merry Fellows was the first Soviet musical comedy. Set in Odessa and Moscow in the 1930's. Shepherd Kostya Potekhin (Utyosov) is mistaken for an international concert star. He falls in love with Anyuta (Orlova) and plays the "star" for her. In a cascade of comic musical numbers he becomes the leader of a Jazz-Band and gives a hilarious show at the Odessa Music Hall. Now he is destined to perform at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Written by Steve Shelokhonov

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 March 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jolly Fellows  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(HDCAM)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

The animated credits begin with the names and faces of Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, followed on the next title by the text "do not participate in this film". The letters are then mixed and reappear as "in this film participate", followed by the actual cast members. The credits also list "Marya Ivanovna" with a large question mark; the question mark turns into a cow, which then paints with her tail the title of the film (in the film, Marya Ivanovna happens to be the name of a lazy cow in the herd tended by the main character Kostya Potekhin). See more »

Connections

Featured in Fortress of War (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Our first musical comedy and definitely one of the greatest
4 February 2008 | by See all my reviews

It is a highly musical film completely devoid of any depression and political propaganda. Such films help us to get a close look at ourselves and to understand how lazy we all are nowadays ("we are a lazy generation" - remember "Burnout 3: Takedown"?). Look at today's musical films - they cannot keep the pace with this old comedy. The film was restored in 1978 (if I remember it correctly) and the version I've watched is pretty good. During singing the movement of the actors' lips and the sound of the voice are not always matching each other but that's not important. The quality of the sound is very satisfactory and lets the viewer hear wonderful voices of our best 20th century actors in their full glory.

Among the numerous funny scenes I would like to point out the following "signature moves" which really attracted my attention:

1) the camera's glide along the bodies of sunbathing holidaymakers (feet, backs, buttocks, feet, feet, backs, etc.) - that's something I've never seen in a movie; 2) the "beat-'em-all" sequence: the ultimate "disassembly" of the whole band (instruments included) - that's something even Mr Jacky Chan has to watch closely and admire; 3) "the raining race": the guys from the band "Merry Fellows" are riding a catafalque to get to the theatre and this race looks simply insane.

Together with "Volga - Volga" (1938) it is a brilliant example of our best musical comedies. If you should call some classics of this genre "cult", then don't forget "Vesyolye rebyata" (1934). It is one of those examples when you can easily skip the imperfections and enjoy the whole piece.

Mr Leonid Utyosov gives, quite possibly, his best performance and Mrs Lyubov Orlova shines again.

When I have more time and inclination, I shall add more details to my comment. Meanwhile, 10 out of 10. Thank you for attention.


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