SEREBRISTAYA PYL (1953)
aka Silver Dust
Article 4315 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Pavel Armand and Abram Room
Featuring Mikhail Bolduman, Sofiya Pilyavskaya, Valentina Ushakova
What it is: Satire
An American scientist develops a radioactive dust that he wants to test on human subjects. However, there are other parties interested in the dust as well…
To be perfectly honest, there’s no way I can give a fair review of this movie; the only copy I was able to find did not have English dubbing or subtitles. I’m not surprised I couldn’t find one in English. From the sources I checked, this movie was made by Abram Room to get back in the good graces of the Soviet government; some of his earlier movies made during WWII had a positive view of the United States, most likely because we were allies during the war. Once the cold war was fully underway, he had to redeem himself by making a movie in which the U.S. was portrayed as a menace, and this is the result. I don’t know if it ever got a release in this country, but I doubt it; its anti-American stance and its addressing of race issues would have made it unwelcome here. There’s not a whole lot I could get out of the film on my viewing under these circumstances; with the exception of a handful of scenes, the movie is extremely talky and conveys its story through dialogue rather than visuals. One reaction I did have was that it might have had a bit of trouble seeming real; the story takes place in the U.S., but despite the presence of English words and lettering on all of the sets, the locations never quite look authentic, and though this probably wouldn’t have bothered a Russian audience, I think it wouldn’t have passed muster with an American audience. Think of it as the Soviet flip side to the “Red Scare” movies made here in the fifties.