Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
The Russian-language title of this film based on Chekhov's short-story The Duel, translates as "The Bad Good Man." This film is treasured by Russian audiences because it contains one of the very few screen appearances of the beloved star Vladimir Vysotsky (he plays Von Koren). Boasting a fine cast, including Oleg Dal as Ivan Andreevich Laevsky and Anatoli Papanov as Samoilenko, the film concerns two intellectuals: Layevsky, a high-minded individual, full of love and ideals, who is all talk and no action; and Von Koren, a driven, ambitious zoologist who espouses a grim creed of Darwinian eugenics. Their encounters rob them of faith in their creeds, which were shallow enough to begin with. The director, Joseph Heifitz, is probably best known for his film The Lady With the Little Dog.
eugenics, ideals, intellectualism, zoology