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Jolly Fellows (DVD NTSC)

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Studio(s): MosFilm
DVD Region: ALL

Theatrical release: 1934
Language(s): Russian
Subtitles: No Subtitles
Format: Black & White
Genre(s): Music comedy

"Jolly Fellows" is the first musical comedy directed by Grigori Alexndrov. The plot is a rags-to-riches tale of Kostya Potekhin (Leonid Utyosov), a shepherd who ends up the conductor of a jazz orchestra. This is because flirty Yelena (Mariya Strelkova) mistakes the shepherd for a famous conductor. Invited to a swank party, the shepherd plays his pan flute for the enraptured audience, only to discover that all of the animals from his farm have followed the sound of his music to the dining room and destroyed the carefully prepared feast.

The romantic subplot, which never seems to occupy as much of the storyline as your would think, involves Anyuta (Lyubov Orlova), a servant to Yelena who falls for Kostya, but has trouble getting him to notice.

This was the first Soviet film in which entire sequences were shot to pre-recorded musical accompaniment and there are several nice comic bits involving sound and music. First released as "The Shepherd of Abrau," this film is apparently also known as "Jazz Comedy" and "Moscow Laughs." This film is the first in a series of films directed by Alexandrov and starring Orlova, which includes "Circus" and "Volga Volga."

At the festival in Venice (1934) the film was rated one of the six best films in the world.

Director:
Grigorij Aleksandrov

Script:
Grigorij Aleksandrov, Nikolaj Erdman, Vladimir Mass

Camera:
Boris Aretskij, Vladimir Nil'sen

Music:
Isaac Dunaevsky

Cast:
Emmanuil Geller, Elena Tyapkina, Fedor Kurikhin, Leonid Utesov, Lyubov' Orlova, Mariya Strelkova, Robert Erdman

Art Director:
Aleksej Utkin

Lyrics:
Vasilij Lebedev-Kumach

Sound producer:
Nikolaj Timartsev