The Death Ray (1925 film)

The Death Ray (Russian: Луч смерти, romanizedLuch smerti) is a 1925 Soviet science fiction film directed by Lev Kuleshov.[1][2] The first and last reels of the film have been lost. This film ran at 2 hours, 5 minutes, making this one of the earliest full length science fiction films. Despite the fact that many sources claim the inspiration for the film to be the novel The Garin Death Ray by Aleksei Tolstoy, this is not the case. It is impossible, since the book was published two years after the film, in 1927.[3] Furthermore, the film has many similarities with a book by Valentin Kataev, called Lord of Iron, published in 1924.[4] Moreover, the theme of death rays was very popular at the time because of the 1923 claim of British inventor Harry Grindell Matthews to have created a "death ray".

The Death Ray
The Death Ray (1925 film).jpg
Directed byLev Kuleshov
Written byVsevolod Pudovkin
StarringPorfiri Podobed
Vsevolod Pudovkin
Vladimir Fogel
Aleksandra Khokhlova
Leonid Obolensky
CinematographyAleksandr Levitsky
Release date
  • 1925 (1925)
Running time
125 minutes
CountrySoviet Union
LanguageSilent film


The film takes place in an unspecified capitalist country and centers around a Soviet engineer Podobed who invents the "death ray" – a device which explodes fuel mixtures at a distance.

Enemy intelligence agents steal the invention and it becomes an instrument for suppressing labor strikes in their country. However, workers end up seizing the device and use it to blow up bombers in the air which are sent against them.


The film received negative reviews on its release and did not do well at the box-office. Kuleshov explained the film's failure as the result of its experimental nature and that the main goal of the picture was to merely display that the director was capable of making professional films at a low budget.[5]


External linksEdit


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  5. ^ "Луч смерти". VokrugTV.

See alsoEdit