Moscow: Kinopechat', 1926. Octavo (14.5 × 11.5 cm). Original illustrated wrappers by Naum Sokolik; 16 pp. Photo-illustrations throughout. Light soil to wrappers; trace of moisture to upper right corner, not affecting text; still about very good. Item #6637
A NEP-era movie fan booklet dedicated to Henny Porten, the first German film star of the silent era, written by the film, theater and circus reviewer Izmail Urazov (1896–1965). The Russian Revolutions of 1917 and the subsequent Russian Civil War (1918–1922) devastated the Russian and Soviet film industry. Due to widespread film and equipment shortages, foreign productions came to dominate the Soviet screen, a fact often commented upon in the Soviet press. With the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP), a hybrid of communism and capitalism meant to jumpstart the Soviet economy, German film companies among others, brought their films to the newly open Soviet market, with fan materials such as this booklet helping to popularize specific film stars and sell tickets to their films. An editor of “Circus” magazine and a prolific reviewer, Urazov wrote similar pamphlets dedicated to other German silent stars such as Greta Garbo, Asta Nilsen, Ossi Oswalda, and Harry Liedtke.
This as well as Urazov’s other pamphlets were published by the NEP-era publishing house Kinopechat’ (1925–1927), later known as Teakinopechat (1927–1929), which published both serious theoretical film literature by formalist theoreticians such as Boris Eikhenbaum and Viktor Shklovsky and film directors such as Vsevolod Pudovkin, as well as popular film materials. Most of Kinopechat’ profits came from the sales of fan posters, post cards and booklets of domestic and foreign film stars such as this one. By 1929 the sale of these ‘bourgeois fan materials’ caused a scandal at the publishing house and the publisher started printing literature on “kinofikatsiia derevni” (the spread of the cinema into the villages) which was more in line with the first five-year plan (1928–1932). Nevertheless, the publishing house was soon closed. KVK, OCLC show copies at Art Gallery of Ontario, British Library, Yale, UNC Chapel Hill, and Berkeley.