Gentlemen of Fortune (Soviet Union, 1972)

Figure 1.--Here we see Troshkin's kindergarteners doing a school skit about the Three Little Pigs. Tights had just replaced long stockings in the Soviet Union.

A Russian reader tells us about a mega-popular Soviet comedy 'Gentlemen of Fortune' (Джентльмены удачи, 1972) about the ordinary director of a kindergarden who gets involved with a criminal gang. the film was produced by Mosfilm. The actors included some of the most popular Soviet actors: Savely Kramarov, Yevgeny Leonov, Georgy Vitsin, and Radner Muratov. The film proved to be the most popular Soviet film of 1972 with 65 million viewers. The movie is about a good natured, but very ordinary kindergarten director. Kindergarten teachers were women, but the directors (principals) were often men. There are lots of scenes from the kindergarten. The children are shown wearing tights hich had recently replaced long stockings in the Soviet Union. The kindergarten director, Troshkin, is a very ordinary individual except that he looks just like a criminal nick named Docent, meaning associate professor--presumably because he was very calculating. Docent has mastermined a plot to steal Alexander the Great's priceless golden helmet unearhed at an archaeological dig. Docent and his gang are arrested by the militsiya (police), but they can't find the helmet. The police decide to separate Diocent and his gang in an effort to crack the case. As Troshkin looks just like Docent, the militsiya send him as an undercover agent to impersinate Docent. The well educated, soft spoken Troshkin must learn to speak and act like a criminal. Movie crime was of course a Hollywood mainstay. The Soviet approach to crime in movies is an interesting comtrast. A Russian reader tells us, "In Stalinist times there were some movies about crimes and criminals, but always the crime was depicted as a something alien, to Russia's happy Communist society. As a rule, the criminal was always "a spy from XXXX" or, at least, a minion of such a spy. Or (no less popular) an agent of overseas white-guard emmigrants," some misterious "social-fascists, and so on. Never ordinary domestic crime like depicted in Hollywood films. After Stalin's death (1953) and the 20th Party Congress (1956), this began to change. Beginning about 1958, Soviet film makers began to make movies that painted life more realistic, including crimes and criminals, former and present, 'as is'. Here are a few samples: 'The Red Snowball Tree', 'The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed', and 'Investigation Held by Znatoki'."


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Created: 6:53 AM 1/6/2013
Last updated: 6:53 AM 1/6/2013