The Death Ray

No rating due to partly missing film

In a nutshell: This 1925 Soviet action film by master film theorist Lev Kuleshov is all about editing and light-hearted spy fun in a pre-James Bond era. Both critics and the audince found the film too experimental or too dumb. Still it is a masterpiece of expressive editing and has some spectacular stunts.

The Death Ray (Luch Smerti). 1925, Russia/USSR. Written and directed by Lev Kuleshov, Vsevolod Pudovkin. Based on the novel Lord of Iron (Povelityel Zhelyeza) by Valentin Katayev (uncertain, uncredited). Starring: Porfiri Podobed, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Sergei Komarov, Vladimir Fogel, Alexandra Kokhlova. Produced for Gosfilm. IMDb score: 6.4

One of the film's many exciting action scenes.

One of the film’s many exciting action scenes.

No-one should fault me for not trying to dig up what I can about these films. In researching this film I have requested corrections for both the film’s English Wikipedia page and IMDb.

The problem with Lev Kuleshov’s 1925 film Luch Smerti, or The Death Ray, is that there is very little information to be found about it online, even on Russian web pages. This is a bit surprising, as Kuleshov was one of the Soviet Union’s foremost directors and The Death Ray was made with a large budget and was highly publicized when it was released. It was, however, a flop both with audiences and critics, and it was later disowned and buried by the powers that be (was), because the Soviet bureacrats under Stalin thought it was too influenced by Western cinema, and the sci-fi element didn’t sit well with the demands of Soviet realism. Continue reading