The Deserter (1933 film)

The Deserter (Russian: Дезертир, Dezertir) is a 1933 Soviet drama film directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin. It was his first sound picture.[1]

The Deserter
Directed byVsevolod Pudovkin
Written byNina Agadzhanova
M. Krasnostavsky
Aleksandr Lazebnikov
StarringBoris Livanov
Music byYuri Shaporin
CinematographyAnatoli Golovnya
Yuli Fogelman
Edited byI. Aravina
M. Usoltseva
Distributed byGarrison Films Inc. (United States)
Release date
19 September 1933
Running time
103 minutes (2,818 meters)
CountrySoviet Union


Karl Renn, a Hamburg shipyard worker, is a member of the Communist Party of Germany and is commissioned by the USSR to organize a general strike and exert pressure on employers. When the strike comes, several fights take place with the police. After a month of strike, many workers are already so exhausted that they become strike-breakers. There arises an armed conflict that even Karl's wife goes to; but he stays at home because of his cowardice. Nevertheless, as a delegate of the party, he is sent together with four comrades to a meeting in the Soviet Union. He stays there, works in a blast furnace and is enthusiastic about the communist system. After a few weeks the news reaches him that his Party Chief in Hamburg had been slain. He then travels back to Germany to continue the struggle of the workers.



Grigori Roshal praised the stylistic aspects of the film; "The pattern of shots attains such vividness, one shot flowing into another, becoming fused one with the other, that ordinary shots create an extraordinary impression."[2]The New York Times gave a review which stated that "Pudovkin again demonstrates his ability to hold screen audiences, but be could have reduced the running time of "Deserter" by about fifteen minutes without lessening its value."[3]Graham Greene's review for The Spectator described it as "a bad film with some superb moments", nevertheless he also wrote; "But the film should be seen: there are moments magnificent as well as naive..."[4] Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film three and a half out of four stars, praising the film's visuals, and experimental use of sound, calling it "an essential visual and aural experience."[5]


  1. ^ Vsevolod Pudovkin (1954). Film technique and Film acting. The cinema writings of V.I. Pudovkin. Vision Press Limited. p. 161.
  2. ^ Roger Manvell, ed. (1949). Experiment in the Film. The Grey Walls Press Ltd. p. 158.
  3. ^ "Directed by Pudovkin". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Graham Greene. "The Deserter is Pudovkin's first talkie". The Spectator.
  5. ^ Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.

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