Moscow: Goslitizdat, 1935. 267 pp.: ill. 22.7x15.5 cm. In original publisher’s cloth binding. Soiling of the boards. Otherwise near fine.
Scarce. First edition. 1 of 3,000 copies. Edited by L. Okhitovich. Binding by L. A. Epple.
A theoretical work on the practice of film shooting by one of the greatest soviet movie directors.
Lev Kuleshov (1899-1970) went down in history as one of the greatest Soviet directors and the author of movies that became classics of world cinematography - Neobychaynyye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bol’shevikov [i.e. The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks] (1924), Po zakonu [i.e. By the Law] (1926), Velikiy uteshitel [i.e. The Great Consoler] (1933), etc. His discoveries in the field of film editing, including the famous “Kuleshov Effect”, became the basis of the foundations of the language of cinema and the practice of filmmaking. In this book, which came out in 1935, Kuleshov shares his experience in film shooting and provides a detailed description of the techniques he used while working on various movies. The edition consists of two sections and focuses on such topics as the principles of editing, practice of training an actor, preliminary work of the director and the crew, etc. The narrative is accompanied with multiple examples from Lev’s career as a film director. In the second chapter of the edition, Kuleshov mainly concentrates on the rehearsal method and breaks down economic benefits of the technique. What makes the book particularly engaging is the intertwining of theory of filmmaking with the biographical notes, which provide a rare insight into the unknown details of Kuleshov’s work on various Soviet movies and the obstacles he encountered on his way. The edition is supplemented with numerous schemes and black and white illustrations showing movie stills from the films directed by Lev, including By the Law, The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West, Luch’ smerti [i.e. The Death Ray] (1925), etc.
Overall, an important contribution to the study of the 1930s Soviet cinematography.
Worldcat shows copies of the edition at Museum of Modern Art, New York Public Library System, University of Notre Dame, Getty Research Institute, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.