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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Otsep's & Barnet's Miss Mend on DVD & Mezhrabpom

Finally Otsep's & Barnet's Miss Mend is to be released on DVD by Flicker Alley, Dave Kehr the New York Times film critic reports. Very welcome news given that so few of Barnet's films are actually available in English-language versions. The critical reception of the film in the Anglo-Saxon world has, with the exception of Noel Burch's brilliant article 'Harold Lloyd versus Doctor Mabuse', been almost non-existent. Yet Burch's article provides a powerful case for seeing Barnet's and Otsep's film as a seminal work of world cinema in which two cinematic codes (American slapstick and German expressionism) battled it out on the screen. The Soviet detective genre exemplified by Shaginian's 'Mess Mend' drawing on and playing with the notion of a 'Red Pinkerton' was a relatively short-lived phenomenon. That this was to be produced in the Mezhrabpom-Rus studios is, of course, no suprise- the most colourful of early Soviet studios both in terms of output and its history as well as a number of its colourful personalities associated with it (Francesco Misiano and Willi Munzenberg being the most well-known). Finally a fuller account of its history in English is about to be written by Dr Jamie Miller (author of Soviet Cinema: Politics and Persuasion under Stalin). Very welcome news given the dearth of information on this fascinating film studio.

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