Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Gobsek was based on a novel by Honore de Balzac, which was allegedly cited by Karl Marx as a landmark work in the history of revolutionary literature. The film endeavors to prove that greed and deceit run rampant throughout the world, and only a sudden and sweeping change in political ideology can save mankind from itself. Leonid Leonidov plays the title character, a man who learns all too well that one cannot spend one's life solely in the service of oneself. American critics found the film ponderous and pretentious, pointing out that far-better propaganda pictures had already emanated from Russia and Europe. Within a few years, Balzac's reputation would suffer dramatically in the Soviet Union, and Gobsek would mysteriously vanish from the "recommended" list.