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The Elusive Avengers

Edmond Keosayan
Neulovimye mstiteli
USSR 1967 / 78’
USSR: Golden Age

Edmond Keosayan’s was released in the Soviet Union around the 50th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. After the success in the Soviet Union of The Magnificent Seven (1960), ‘upper-level comrades’ decided to fight against John Sturges’ film with critical articles and by withdrawing it from distribution. They also undertook to make a socially correct film in retort to capitalist mass culture. While comrades in the GDR got party orders to make correct films about cowboys and Indians, the Soviet Union decided to remake Little Red Devils, which was the Soviet answer to American Westerns in 1924. Elusive Avengers won as an ideologically neutral title and a great moniker for a Western. The Elusive Avengers became a true ‘film for the whole nation’. For the authorities, there was a red sun in the opening scene and a dedication to young civil war heroes, while the general audience got fight scenes, chases, gun shots, and horse racing. After the success of The Elusive Avengers, Keosayan made two more films with the same heroes – The New Adventures of the Elusive Avengers (1968) and The Crown of the Russian Empire or the Elusive Avengers Again (1971).

Sergey Lavrentyev / Rotterdam IFF

Edmond Keosayan

Born in 1936, died in 1994. An Armenian film director and musician. From 1952 to 1954, he worked in a Yerevan watch factory. In 1954–1956, he studied at the Plekhanov Moscow Institute of Economy, and, in 1956–1958, the Yerevan Fine Arts and Theatre Institute. He also worked as a master of ceremonies for the Soviet State Variety Orchestra. In 1964, he graduated from the Directing Department of VGIK and became director at Mosfilm Studio. He occasionally worked at Armenfilm Studio.

Selected filmography

1964 Gdzie jesteś, Maksymie? / Gde ty teper, Maksim? / Where Are You Now, Maxim?

1967 Nieuchwytni mściciele / Neulovimye mstiteli / The Elusive Avengers

1968 Nowe przygody nieuchwytnych mścicieli / Novye priklyucheniya nuelovimykh / The New Adventures of the Elusive Avengers

1971 Korona carów rosyjskich / Korona Rossiyskoy imperi, ili snova neulovimykh / The Crown of the Russian Empire, or Once Again the Elusive Avengers

1975 Kiedy nadejdzie wrzesień / Kogda nastupaet sentyabr / When September Comes

1988 Vozneseniye / The Ascent


Cast & Crew

director Edmond Keosayan
screenplay Edmond Keosayan, Sergei Yermolinsky, based on a short story by Pavel Blyakhin
cinematography Feodor Dobronravov
editing Lyudmila Yelyan
music Artashes Vanitsian
cast Viktor Kosykh, Mikhail Metyolkin, Vasili Vasilyev, Valentina Kurdyukova
production Mosfilm
sales Mosfilm
language Russian
colouration colour