A.k.a. Moscow Laughs, the movie that introduced Soviet musical-comedy director Aleksandrov to Stalin. After an animated prologue informing us that Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton “aren’t appearing in the film,” Jolly Fellows
announces its ambition in its opening number, choreographed in a
slightly awkward series of long takes that celebrate the collectivity
of farm life. Demonstrating his mentor Sergei Eisenstein’s penchant for typecasting,
Aleksandrov tells the story of a shepherd (Utyosov) who aspires
to be a musician, first crashing a dinner party and then the world of bourgeois
concertgoing. The movie preempts A Night at the Opera in its portrait of class; choose your Marx experience—Karl or Groucho—accordingly.