Add a Review

  • This is my favorite Russian comedy, and although it is 30 years old, people still enjoy it more than most other comedies today. A satiric and witty movie that revolves around an adventurous plot. The plot is basically that a convict (Dotsent) escapes from prison and the militia (Russian police) find the criminal's lookalike, a kindergarten teacher. He goes undercover and pretends to be a criminal to help the militia find the where the real convict has hidden a stolen mask. He makes a phony escape from the prison with two others, who think he is the real Dotsent. He eventually befriends with them and they become attached, but I won't reveal the rest. From my plot review it might seem as a violent movie or something like that, but actually it is good for the entire family. The movie is entertaining throughout and if you want to see a comparison with an American equivalent, it's like a lot like Seinfeld because it's a situational comedy. If you are a fan of Russian cinematography and haven't seen this one, watch it right away because this is a true classic with some of the greatest Russian actors (see cast).
  • The Soviet prison system might not be high on many people's lists of good starting laces for humor, but this comedy winds up being often very funny nonetheless.

    This basis is a classic fish-out-of-water premise, wherein a kindly kindergarten teacher happens to look uncannily like a a notorious criminal who has collaborated in stealing a priceless Macedonian gold helmet. The authorities' plan -- only just past the boundary of realism -- is to give him a wig and some false tattoos, and enlist him to help find the helmet. And this, of course, leads to all sorts of awkward situations, which are played for a deadpan absurdity that sets a great tone.

    It's also interesting for its view (through a comedy lens) of the Soviet prison system and criminal life at this time, as well as its central Asian setting. Apparently, a good amount of actual contemporary underworld slang from the time was included (which our hero has to learn like a second language). Through the humor, criminals are nonetheless treated as human characters, who are wistful at having been divorced from a normal life and family, rather than completely villainous reprobates.

    A very entertaining picture in all, with both likable cops and largely likable robbers as its characters. Recommended.
  • Soldeirs of Fortune is often regarded as masterpiece of Soviet Filmmaking. However, most western viewers usually miss out on the main point that this movie tried to make. Soviet Union has big population of ex-prisoners who viewed themselves as heroes of societies of their time. During early years of Red revolution, people who were released from jails were one of the strongest segments of the "iron fist" that were essential to communism forces. The majority (that was target of communism ideology) were simple penniless people who were craving for chance to get a piece of socially acknowledged and legitimate (comparing to rich aristocratic lifestyle) equal way of life. Gentleman of Fortune presents a rich and historically important blend of mix of Soviet propaganda and effort of filmmakers to relate to prevailing audience. I was the among last generation that bears the values of shattered society.

    Filmmaking has made a colossal leap in recent couple of decades, from simple relation to the audience, to trackers of trends in popular culture and views. I truly believe that it is important that future film experts would be able to fully comprehend the essence of legacy that was left to us by older generations.

    Majority of western viewers will not be able to understand the humor and subtle context references that reflect nowadays dissolved soviet society. Soldiers of Fortune was primarily a comedy movie that was aimed to aggravate feelings of warmth and happiness in their customers. This movie tackles the problems of humanity and affection between individuals inside "evil" world of burglars and thieves. However, foreign viewers will be able to comprehend these references only of they have knowledge of culture and habits of filmmakers time. Therefore, as this particular movie is freely accessible in YouTube, I insist that if someone wants to fully interpret this movie, it is important to create special description of context in scenes. I would happily be able to provide these commentaries with possible collaboration of other soviet and post-soviet film experts to allow full experience to viewers of this masterpiece.
  • Aleksandr Sery's "Dzhentlmeny udachi" ("Gentlemen of Fortune" in English) is one of those movies whose purpose is to be silly. Yevgeny Leonov plays a kindergarten director who get hired to pose as the leader of a criminal gang to find out the location of a stolen helmet. I understand that Sery had previously been in jail, and so he knew what the jail scenes should look like. But mostly, the movie consists of over-the-top acting and a couple of scenes that made me think "Wait...what?!" Some of the cast members also starred in Leonid Gayday's 1967 comedy "Kidnapping, Caucasian Style" (one of the zaniest movies that I've ever seen). Basically, any one of these movies is a good time. You're sure to love it.

    PS: Savely Kramarov (Fedya) eventually moved to the US where he appeared in movies such as "Moscow on the Hudson".
  • Story is the classical doubleganger comedy . This time a kindergarten helper is used by the police to get stolen and hid a golden helmet back from some criminals.

    I have watched old Russian comedies before and liked some a lot and liked others less. This did just not work for me. I did not find anything in the movie really funny. But it seems like a lot like it. Maybe the movie is also more fun for Russian people, But I guess sometimes comedies are also very individual what people like.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    GENTLEMEN OF FORTUNE is another broad slice of Russian comedy that proves an interesting watch just to see how it compares to common Western attitudes and ideals. Once again the plot is an old-fashioned one and seems indebted to the style of Hollywood cinema in the 1930s. The general theme is cops and robbers with a particular look at the Russian prison system of the time.

    The narrative involves your usual 'lookalike' plot in which an innocent man - a teacher this time around - just so happens to be the exact double of a notorious imprisoned criminal. The criminal previously stole a priceless historical artifact but now refuses to reveal the location, so the teacher is sent out to involve himself with the man's contacts, pose as the criminal, and retrieve it. The rest of the tale goes from there. The story is full of the usual satire, slapstick, and unusual situations, and is well made for its time.