Thursday, July 5, 2012
Mikhail Shvejtser - Zolotoy telyonok AKA The Golden Calf (1968)
This Russian comedy is the sequel to The Twelve Chairs, which told of a madcap search by a con-man and a nobleman in post-communist Russia for a chair containing a king's ransom in hidden diamonds. Presumably dead at the end of the first film, charming con-man Ostap Bender is alive and kicking and looking for another way to get rich. He discovers an underground Soviet millionaire, Alexander Koreiko, and begins blackmailing him in an attempt to accomplish his lifelong goal of having one million rubles. With that amount of money, he believes he could fulfill his dream of moving to Rio de Janeiro. In the pursuit of his many schemes, he uses an ill-assorted gang of fellow miscreants: Shura the simple-minded young ex-convict, Panikovsky an older con man, and the unusually unlucky driver Adam Kozlevich. He has many wild adventures in his quest. The witty and satirical novel on which this movie is based, written in 1930, was prohibited until the 1950s, when it became a cult novel in the USSR.