THE FILM HEROES / FILMENS HELTE (Soviet release title: “Early Career”/ “Nachalo kar'ery”)
Denmark, Palladium, 1928, 63 minutes
Scriptwriter: Alice O’Fredericks
Director: Lau Lauritzen Sr.
Cast: Carl Schenstrøm, Harald Madsen, Holger Reenberg, Eli Lehmann, Inger Schmidt, Katy Valentin, Nikolai Brechling, Erling Schroeder, Edouard Mielche, Kai Holm, Aage Bendixen
Theater director and actor Lau Lauritzen came to the Nordisk film studio in 1911, during the heyday of Danish cinema. Despite the departure of the silent film star Asta Nielsen, which had severely crippled all Danish filmmaking, the atmosphere of the “gold rush” reigned at the studio: films were being released incessantly, many were popular with viewers, and were sent abroad. Lauritzen was in the right place at the right time. After playing several supporting roles, he began to write scripts, quickly attracted the attention of producers, and in 1914 started to direct of farces and comedies. Making 30-40 films a year, he not only directs and writes scripts: in order to speed up the pace of work, he begins to edit films at home. Seeing his irrepressible enthusiasm, the producers offer him to head the comedy department; he remains in this position until 1921.
During the war, because the studio experienced a crisis, the staff of the department was reduced from 70 to 6. Only Lauritzen and several actors remained: Olga Svendsen, Oscar Stribolt, Frederik Buch, Aage Bendixen, and Carl Schenstrøm. The latter came from a circus family, a theater actor who switched to the cinema in 1909. By the end of the 1910s, it was him that Lauritzen, who was dreaming of creating a comedy duo, banked on.
Meanwhile, in 1917 in the United States they released several films about Ham and Bud, who are considered the first comic duo in world cinema. These characters, however, could not boast of much success. Lauritzen probably did not know anything about this pair when in 1919 he decided to combine two actors in one film: Bendixen and Schenstrøm. In their first film, they still play some abstract nameless enemies, but in the second one they are already called by the names that later became well-known - Lighthouse and Trailer. The duo did not last long, however. Lauritzen was not sure about the choice of actors - next to the lean, tall Schenstrøm, the puny and inconspicuous Bendixen looked unconvincing, did not make a good contrast with him. Lauritzen stopped making films with this pair and started looking for a more suitable actor.
In 1921, watching the gradual collapse of the Nordisk studio, Lauritzen, along with the entire group of comedians, went to the Palladium studio, where he immediately became the chief director. Here he returned to his idea of ​​a comedic duo and made another film with the same cast. The film was a success, but Lauritzen did not give up hope of finding the necessary replacement. He and the studio producer Svend Nielsen, having visited the circus once, saw the actor Harald Madsen, who seemed to them to be the perfect replacement for Bendixen. By that time, Madsen was already the director of the circus and a world-famous artist, a clown and an acrobat. He had no plans to connect his life with cinema, but in 1917 he had accepted Mauritz Stiller’s invitation to star in the film “Alexander the Great”. After the end of filming, he returned to the circus, which he would not leave in the future either, even after becoming a movie star. In order to make sure that he made the right choice, Lauritzen invited him to play a supporting role together with Schenstrøm. The result exceeded all his expectations. The film called “Film, Flirting, and Engagement” was released in 1921 and was being promoted as yet another movie bestseller starring Oscar Stribolt, whose recognizable face was placed on all movie posters.
At the film’s premiere, it suddenly became clear that Madsen and Shenström not only overshadowed the famous comedian, but also turned out to be the main characters of the picture. Instead of the posters with Stribolt, portraits of two inseparable vagabonds, Pat and Patachon, appeared for the first time (this was the name given to the couple in Germany first, and then in the USSR and other countries). Over the next years, the fame of the comic duo only grew. The following year, four films featuring them were released and this tempo would become the norm. The main guarantee of success was the very contrast that Lauritzen had been looking for, and the “bifurcation of the comic”. “In the circus, the comic duo is a tradition, and Bim’s sour lyricism is always accompanied by the caustic merry fellow Bom. Pat and Patachon brought the circus tradition to the screen, working on the basis of two principles: repetition and contrast. They complement each other, repeating the same action, but they always do it as differently as their mistakes are different: Pat’s narrow, long, mustached shadow, stretched like a thread, and the convex, curved, shaved figure of Patachon. Pat does everything honestly and seriously with self-sacrifice, Patachon does everything with a smile and cunning of a mentally defective child”, - noted the director and writer Vlad Korolevich. (Korolevich V. Pat i Patashon. “Izlechima li liubov'” [Pat and Patachon. “Can love be cured”] // Sovetskii ekran [The Soviet Screen]. 1926. 31. 3 August. S. 14).
Offhand humor, the simplicity of tricks and plots made Pat and Patachon popular favorites in many countries. The duo itself existed until 1940; in 19 years, 46 films were made. The 1928 “Film Heroes” became the 25thfilm for Pat and Patachon, one of their last silent films and the last one to get to the USSR.

Andrey Ikko
A comedy about hapless extras Pat and Patachon accidentally becoming movie stars.

November 18, Thursday
The Film Heroes (1928)
With live music. Film 35 mm.
Illuzion Cinema
Big Hall
The Film Heroes (1928)
Film 35 mm.
Illuzion Cinema
Big Hall

November 19, Friday
The Film Heroes (1928)
Illuzion Cinema
Small Hall

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