Russia Cinema The Secret of the Blackbirds (1983)

The Secret of the Blackbirds (1983)

Detective fiction

Mosfilm, 1983

Based on Agatha Christie’s novel A Pocket Full of Rye

Running time: 97 minutes, colour

Director: Vadim Derbenev

Screenplay: Valentin? Kolodyazhnaya, Elizaveta Smirnova

Cinematography: Nikolai Nemolyaev

Composer: Victor Babushkin

Cast: Ita Ever, Vladimir Sedov, Vsyevolod Sanayev, Lyubov Polischuk, Yury Belyaev, Elena Sanayeva, Andrei Kharitonov, Natalia Danilova, Elena Ivochkina, Elsa Radzinya, Tamara Nosova, Yury Moroz, Irina Mazurkevich, Vladimir Zeldin, Boris Novikov, Nina Agapova

Box-office leader (1984, 4th place): 35.3 million viewers

Millionaire businessman George Fortescue is poisoned. Not long before his death, dead blackbirds mysteriously appear on his desk. Every member of his family is under suspicion, as each stands to gain in some way from his death. The murder is followed by more killings – two servants and the victim’s second wife. Inspector Neele works with Miss Marple to prevent the homicide from striking again.

While this is the typical subject of a classical detective story, The Secret of the Blackbirds required a whole new approach for Russian cinema. For a long time, the heroes of Soviet movies had been spies or policemen. The complex background of an upper-class English family was new and unexplored territory. The action took place in expensive interiors, requiring a fresh approach in a genre previously dominated by police investigations. The elegant manners, the fashionable suits and hats, the refined world of the British aristocracy all created a refined setting. The presence of femme fatale and sex bomb Adele, played by Lyubov Polischuk, lent the film a special Western chic.

Unlike a book, a detective film concentrates less on the thoughts and more on the actions of the main characters. In order to create a dynamic plot, the actions of the criminal and the investigator are often shown in parallel, creating less of a sense of mystery. Although the directors employ these tactics in this film, they manage to maintain the suspense and the tense storyline, right up until the very last scenes.

Random articles