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23 September 2016


The first music comedy released in the USSR, laid the foundation for a whole series of films by director Grigori Alexandrov, which he made in collaboration with the composer Isaac Dunayevsky.

Jazz Comedy was the initial title of this film, made by Alexandrov in 1934, following a directive from the Communist Party Central Committee that the most important part of Soviet cinema—Soviet comedy—was yet to be unveiled! Alexandrov, who had just returned from Mexico and the US, working as part of Sergey Eisenstein’s crew, aimed at popular Hollywood comedies. The main role—that of the comic shepherd Kostya Potekhin—was written especially for the charismatic pop star of the era, actor and singer Leonid Utyosov, whose jazz band “Thea-Jazz” (“theatrical jazz”) was extremely popular among Moscow audiences. The role of the servant Anyuta, who becomes the diva of the Moscow Music Hall, was the debut of Lyubov Orlova, who became a major star of Soviet film. Merry Fellows was not just adored by millions but even reconciled jazz music with Soviet ideology.

Merry Fellows
Dir. Grigori Alexandrov, 94 minutes, USSR, 1934
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