If fire-crackers are considered fit playthings for little Bolsheviks, the youngsters of Russia must have had a grand and noisy time yesterday because throughout Russia the seventeenth anniversary of the Bolshevist revolution was celebrated with fitting ceremonies.
In New York City the celebration took many forms, not the least of which was the opening to the public of the great Russian film, “Three Songs About Lenin,” at the Cameo Theatre on West Forty-second street. But even if the opening of the picture did not coincide with the celebration of this Russia Fourth of July, it would still be a cinema event of some importance.
“Three Songs About Lenin,” which was directed by Dzega Vertof, whose famous “Man With The Movie Camera” is still talked about with bated breath by all cinema technicians, is a frank glorification of the life of the Bolshevik leader Lenin. Using old news reels, shots from other pictures and a great deal of original material, Vertof has merged all these together and made one of the most impressive and stirring films ever brought to this country.
As the title indicates, the film is divided into three movements. The first is a picturization of the emergence of Asiatic Russia from the chains of superstition and barbarism. In this section the work of the Bolsheviks in enlightening the inhabitants of Soviet Asia is naturally stressed.
The second section is devoted almost entirely to Lenin. He is shown in a variety of poses and under varied circumstances, including a scene in which his voice is heard.
However, most of this portion of the film is concerned with Lenin’s funeral and the peasants’ reaction to it. Here Vertov does some of his finest directing by the use of close-ups.
The last part of the film is of course dominated by the victory moti# Russia puts its best foot forward and you are shown the improvement, both industrial and social after the advent of Communism.
Each part is set to a particular song: “Under a Black Veil My Face,” “We Loved Him” and “In The Great City of Stone”. The musical score, by Shaporin, is haunting and beautiful, especially the second number, “We Loved Him,” a moving dirge.
“Three Songs About Lenin” is not of the Hollywood mold and if you expect something snappy and exciting you had best go to your neighborhood movie, but if you have some patience and sensitiveness you will find this unusual, Russian-made film a delightful and exhilarating experience.
OTHER STAGE AND SCREEN NOTES
On Friday at Loew’s State Theatre the finals of the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer screen and voice contest for children will be part of the stage show. The feature picture will be “British Agent.”
“365 Days And Nights In Hollywood,” the picture at The Mayfair this week, is fair entertainment. The plots concerns a fake movie school in which cinema-struck girls are made to believe they, too, can become the nation’s sweethearts. As you might suspect, one of the pupils really has talent and before the film is over, the fake school finds itself actually honest. James Dunn and Alice Faye are the leading players.
Tonight at the Imperial Theatre “Say When,” a new musical comedy with Harry Richman, Bob Hope, Linda Watkins, Taylor Advance reports are favorable.