In Russia, Boris Grushenko is in love with his pseudo-intellectual cousin Sonja, who loves him since he too is a pseudo-intellectual, but she is not in love with him. Instead she is in love with his brother Ivan. But as Ivan doesn't seem to return her affections, she is determined to marry someone - anyone - except Boris. If that person isn't the perfect husband, then she has to find a suitable lover in addition. Boris' pursuit of Sonja has to take a back seat in his life when he, a pacifist and coward, is forced to join the Russian Army to battle Napoleon's forces which have just invaded Austria. Despite Sonja not being in the picture while he's away at war, Boris' thoughts do not stray totally from women. Although they take these two divergent paths in their lives, those paths cross once again as they, together, both try to find the perfect spouse and lover, and try to assassinate Napoleon.Written by
During boot camp, the line of soldiers draw their swords and charge down the field. When they charge back towards Boris and the camera, one of the solder trips and falls down. See more »
How I got into this predicament I'll never know. Absolutely incredible. To be executed for a crime I never committed. Of course, isn't all mankind in the same boat? Isn't all mankind ultimately executed for a crime it never committed? The difference is that all men go eventually, but I go six o'clock tomorrow morning. I was supposed to go at five o'clock but I have a smart lawyer. Got leniency.
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Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev is listed in the credits as "S. Prokofiev," just the way he would have been listed in the credits of a Russian film. See more »
The MGM DVD release deletes the pre-title Prokofiev overture. See more »
As a huge Woody Allen fan, I was delighted and surprised by this film. I have scarcely heard anyone mention it, but for my money it is the single most comically dense of all of Woody's films. There are so many truly impressive/hilarious/memorable one-liners that I'm amazed people don't quote this movie left and right. The setting, costumes, accents all add to the hilarity of the film--truly reminiscent of a Marx Brothers romp. Really outstanding among his pre-Annie Hall films. Only rivaled by Bananas in my opinion for simple laugh value.
Unlike any other of his films, this deals with his "deep" questions of death/metaphysics in an unflaggingly light and comical fashion. For instance:
Sonja: But judgment of any system or a priori relation of phenomena exists in any rational or metaphysical or at least epistemological contradiction to an abstracted empirical concept such as being or to be or to occur in the thing itself or of the thing itself.
Boris: Yeah, I've said that many times.
Not Woody's "best" film (see Annie Hall, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdemeanors), but perhaps his most laugh-filled. Satisfying throughout. I give it a 9/10.
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