Upon Prince Myshkin's return to St. Petersburg from an asylum in Switzerland, he becomes beguiled by the lovely young Aglaya, daughter of a wealthy father. But his deepest emotion is for the wanton, Nastasia. The choices all are forced to make lead to great tragedy.
Rather than try to condense Dostoevsky's long ample novel into one film, the makers of this Soviet adaptation wisely decided to do it in multiple parts, allowing them to explore the material at less of a rushed pace. Only the first part ended up being made, but it is enough of a treasure in itself that we can be grateful, and comes to an end at a natural point.