Monday, August 31, 2020

The Diamond Arm (1969)

It's a generally accepted fact in the West that Russians have no emotions. This also extends to Yugoslavia, =, and also Germany. While at first glance this might seem an entirely reasonable assumption (especially after reading some of their literature! God, Russian authors are miserable bastards!), the Russkies actually do have a sense of humour, and have made some of the all-time best comedies to have completely fallen under the radar of any English speakers. Just = the Shurik movies,  The Diamond Arm...

Semyon Semyonovich Gorbunkov (bloody hell, Russia!) is a hard-working family man going on a vacation to the Mediterranean. Along the cruise there, he makes friends with the charming and handsome Guesha, accompanying him when they reach port. Guesha however would rather be alone, as he's secretly a criminal making a rendezvous. Unfortunately Semyon ends up accidentally in his place, and after a spill, wakes up with a cast on his arm, full of diamonds and jewelry. Upon his arrival back home, he meets up with the police, who tell him to play along and try and find out who orchestrated this job...

The Diamond Arm was an instant hit in its homeland, and is still widely regarded as one of Soviet cinema's greatest efforts. I can safely say the movie lives up to that ! It's a highly entertaining comedy, that races by and never bores or annoys you. It get off to a bit of a weird start with the [formatting], but gets on track quickly enough, introducing its characters well, and the story =.

The story here is simple, but =, allowing for a lot to happen all from this one event. The diamond studded] cast around this poor guy's arm causes so much grief for him, with all the various attempts made to take it, from getting him drunk, to attempted seduction with a beautiful bombshell, and more.

While simple, this never feels like an unconnected series of skits. Each scene and setpiece makes sense, and is very funny! They string the plot together well, until it reaches a really enjoyable (albeit somewhat brief) climax, bound to leave a grin on your face, as well as a wince or two (you're bound to get a sore = just from watching!).

Semyon is a good hero, [dopey] and a little clumsy, but never stupid, and he always does what you hope him to, rather than fumble his way through the plot like a moron. His wife is sweet, and the conclusions she jumps to are amusing, and hilariously dramatic. Certainly not helped by the nosey next door neighbour!

Guesha meanwhile is a great villain. He's legitimately likeable, and his job as a model gets plenty of laughs. Lyolik is just as fun as the gang's heavy, =, especially in the last act. The mysterious ringleader is a bit of a disappointment in that they end up just being some random stranger, but otherwise they're fine. I only wish they had more to do.

The supporting cast is good, from the busybody next door, to the locals in turkey, and the helpful policeman, who's a real pal! He always strives to help out, and do the best he can for the unlucky Semyon.

The music here is great! The score is fun, bouncy, and memorable, giving the film much of its zany charm. Then there are the songs! Both of the two male leads get musical numbers, = on the boat, and = in a bar, and they're great fun, especially the latter! They're catchy tunes with amusing lyrics, and an all-round air of [fun].

If you're curious about Russian cinema, The Diamond Arm is a great place to start. Funny and lighthearted, there's heaps to enjoy. and you can brag to any Russian friends, and be guaranteed a shout the next time you go to a bar!

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