Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Diamond Arm

(Brilliantovaya ruka, Soviet Union, 1968)

Here is a highly-rated movie that is described by many as “the most beloved Russian comedy.” It is a comedy of errors involving a poor innocent schmuck who accidentally gets involved in a smuggling scheme, with diamonds concealed in a cast on his arm. As in a Donald Westlake book, comical things go wrong. But most of it didn’t work well with me. It was too much knockabout, and didn’t seem that inspired. Much of the conflict concerned gangsters and their inept attempts to get back the stones, and I kept thinking how much things have changed. These days, Russian gangsters would just cut off the schmuck’s arm and have done with it and the movie would be over in 30 minutes.