Lev Kuleshov: The Great Consoler (1933)

Scenario (based on O’ Henry motifs) Alexander Kurs, Lev Kuleshov
Cast: I. Novoseltsev, Konstantin Khokhlov, Galina Kravchenko, Andrei Fait, Vasili Kovrigin, Wayland Rudd, Alexandra Khokhlova
Description: Kuleshov cleverly created a film that seems to satirize the ‘varnishing of reality’ that RAPP vilified, yet he also used his scenario to continue his experiments with film form, and to indulge his well-known taste for Americanism. The film takes place in America in 1899, and depicts Bill Porter (based on American writer O. Henry), who is the great consoler of the title, in prison. His writing skills earn him privileges from the warden and he is spared the inhumane treatment meted of other prisoners. Aware of the brutality around him but, Porter is mindful of his privileges and refuses to write about prison life. He prefers to console his less-well-treated friends with fantasies in which good triumphs over evil. In this scene the writer uses his tales to console a fellow prisoner dying of tuberculosis.

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