Extending the bounds of the musical film: initial steps towards mastering the genres of film-opera and film-operetta.
The year 1944 was interesting as a year of renewed work not only on the 'song' film, but also on two kinds of film belonging to musical genres, i. e. the opera film and the operetta film. Within one year an opera and an operetta were filmed: Tchaikovsky's Cherevichki* (director Shapiro) in Alma-Ata and Kalman's Silva (director Ivanovsky) in the Sverdlovsk film studio1. In the Victory year, 1945, a film was released by two directors, Takhmasib and Leshchenko in Baku. This film was based on the musical comedy of Uzeir Gadjibekov Arshin Mal Alan. It was the third screen-version of this classic of Azerbaijani music, but unlike the two preceding it, which had been released before the revolution of 1917 in spite of the composer's protest, this version, was approved by the now sixty-year-old artist. He called it the best version, which was not surprising, for only sound cinema was able to show millions of cinema-goers of all nationalities the beauty, the refinement and the melodic wealth of his music. It was music which directed the development of the plot, characterized the protagonists and led the comic action, especially in the crowd scenes, which were distinguished by a detailed portrayal of everyday life, dynamic montage rhythm and spectacular performance. This was largely achieved through very careful handling of Gadjibekov's original score by the composer and conductor of the film Arshin Mal Alan, Niyazi2, who, from a professional point of view, had prepared its filming almost irreproachably and, proceeding from the comic leitmotivs, had written some additional fragments to link the items. The picture was a great success, due not only to good direction and the brilliant, spirited music. It became polular also thanks to the film debut of the well-known singer, Rashid Beibutov, who played the leading part of the merchant Asker.