Deserter 1933 NR

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(4) IMDb 6.8/10

In "Deserter" labor unrest among German workers leads one conflicted employee from a potential strike to an unforgettable journey to the U.S.S.R., where he becomes inspired to renew the cause of his fellow men. Digitally mastered from the finest elements available, this cinematic milestone offer breathtaking examples of Pudovkin's editorial genius and fascinating multi-layered soundtracks.

Starring:
Boris Livanov, Vasili Kovrigin
Runtime:
1 hour 46 minutes

Deserter

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Vsevolod Pudovkin
Starring Boris Livanov, Vasili Kovrigin
Supporting actors Aleksandr Chistyakov, Tamara Makarova, Semyon Svashenko, Dmitri Konsovsky, Yudif Glizer, M. Oleshchenko, Sergei Martinson, Maksim Shtraukh, Sergei Gerasimov, Sergey Komarov, Vladimir Uralsky, A. Besperstyj, N. Romanov, M. Apeshenko, K. Gurayan, I. Pavrov
Studio Egami Media
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Annie Van Auken TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 31, 2008
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
The Western viewer must approach Vsevolod Pudovkin's DESERTER with the expectation that this early Soviet work will appear as alien to the eye as the spoken dialogue does to the ear. The film is in fact so radically different, it requires some effort of adjustment.

Unusual edit techniques are apparent, in particular the shuffling together of two different scenes. Altering them frame by frame, along with an equally sputtering soundtrack causes an unexpected sensory overload that is less startling the second or third time it occurs. Rapid two-second cuts of faces in a crowd are at times heavy-handed. Frequent bellowing of propagandistic oratory is most foreign of all.

THE STORY:
German shipyard workers strike against heartless management and a corrupt union. Karl Renn is one of these men. As the strike drags on for months, many starve and fall ill. A police action leads to the machine gun murders of several unarmed strikers.

Weak from hunger and demoralized by a lack of progress, Karl becomes catatonic, yet he somehow manages to attend a strikers' meeting, as a non-believer in the "cause." To his surprise, Karl is nominated to be one of four envoys dispatched to Russia to observe the Proletarian system in action. Karl elects to stay when their visit is over and he accepts a technician job in a plant that manufactures enormous diesel-run power generators.

Spiritually renewed and inspired by his Communist indoctrination, Karl later returns to Germany and takes a leadership position in the workers struggle. The story closes with a massive clash between hundreds of his comrades and baton-wielding police. The last scene is the workers' flag being passed from hand to hand to protect it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kristopher Kincaid on October 20, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Although "Deserter" is pure propaganda on par with the best (or worst, take your pick) of the Soviet classics, it has something going for it: it is an example of early Soviet filmmakers' commitment to bring montage experiments to the new field of sound film. As such, it surpasses anything made by Eisenstein. "Deserter" is in fact quite likely one of the most complex and innovative sound films ever made. Pudovkin achieves an incredible interplay between sound and image that makes most films look like "The Jazz Singer;" his experiments in this film are astounding even today. This film is a virtual textbook of the possibilities of sound use in the cinema, pushing beyond the merely functional (the "talkies") into the realm of the sublime. Way ahead of its time on the level of technique, but it's just too bad it could not have been applied to less yawn-inducing material.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Clayton J. Hanson on December 28, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Pudovkin, in his writings, recognized that sound technology had tremendous potential to transform, positively and negatively, the art of film-making. Therefore, at the cusp of the sound era he attempted to lay down some theories which would govern the incorporation of sound into montage. This film represents his attempt to put those ideas into practice, and, as an experiment, it's somewhat less than what one would expect from the theory. Perhaps some of the problems stem from the limitations of early sound equipment, the unfortunate plot (with its oily Social Democrats representing the greatest threat to the workers... in Germany... in 1933) and the cringeworthy scenes in the Soviet Union itself. All that aside, and thinking particularly of the use of shots and sounds of riveting and explosions, mere counterpoint doesn't quite come off as convincing as one would hope, and the complete absence of sound in certain sequences is disconcerting and doesn't seem to fulfill even his outlined ideas about sound appearing as it is perceived in impressions, with sounds being foregrounded if they are unusual. Still, his use of sound as counterpoint in other sequences is impressive, I'm thinking particularly of the trolley ride towards the beginning, and the use of distortion and volume as the camera moves away from and towards those interested, and those disinterested, in the speeches of the union leaders is very impressive and effective.
It would be interesting to examine the development of his use of sound as the technology continued to improve throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, however none of his films from this era are available in the United States, to the detriment of the cinema-viewing public.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
An interesting propaganda piece from the 1930s. A German unionist of uncertain political conviction is sent by his union to Soviet Russia, where he learns commitment to the communist cause. A predictable plot in many spots but nonetheless an interesting insight into Stalin era views of the world.
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