— Mr. West's message home at the end
The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (Russian: Необычайные приключения мистера Веста в стране Большевиков) is a 1924 Soviet comedy film directed by Lev Kuleshov.
The film is about Mr. John West, a naïve American man, and his visit to Soviet Russia, Ukraine, and So On. Warned of what dangerous barbarians these Bolsheviks are, he brings along Jeddy, his cowboy bodyguard, for protection. Mr. West's fears seem to be confirmed when, soon after his arrival in Moscow, his briefcase is stolen. But actually, the thief is affiliated with a cell of counter-revolutionary criminals, and they're thrilled to realize that there's a wealthy American in town. Meanwhile, Mr. West and Jeddy get separated due to a comic misunderstanding. Jeddy is rescued by Ellie, a young American woman who happens to be living in Moscow. Mr. West, however, is "rescued" by the criminals, who have concocted an elaborate con that uses his fear of the Bolsheviks against him.
This being a Soviet production, it goes without saying that Mr. West ends the film as a converted Bolshevik. However, the majority of the film is more farce than propaganda.
This film has the examples of:
- Americans Are Cowboys: Mr. West's bodyguard Jeddy is a cowboy because of course he is. And it's not like he's just a former cowboy now working as a bodyguard. He literally goes off to Russia wearing full cowboy gear, lassoing people, etc. Later on, he does dress and act more normally, however.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The bad guys are former Russian aristocrats, who presumably want to go back to the days of Tsarist Russia.
- Artistic License Geography: Mr. West's U.S. flag manages to have 24 stars (48 is the correct number for 1924) and way more than 13 stripes. One can only presume that authentic U.S. flags were not easily on hand in 1920s Soviet Russia.
- The Cavalry: The real Bolsheviks fulfill this trope at the end.
- Expy: Mr. West is costumed to look like a Harold Lloyd character.
- Eyepatch of Power: One of the bad guys has an eyepatch.
- False Flag Operation: The bad guys stage a fake Bolshevik raid, in which they capture Mr. West, so that they can stage an equally fake rescue operation. These crooks have quite the Complexity Addiction.
- Glorious Mother Russia: Spoofed, as the fake Bolsheviks play the "Russians as savages" stereotype to the hilt.
- It's a Small World, After All: While on the run in Moscow, Jeddy runs into Ellie, a fellow American whom he knew back in the States. What are the odds?
- Kangaroo Court: The fake Bolsheviks give Mr. West a faked fake trial. Of course, we all know rigged trials are something the real Bolsheviks would just never do!
- Loves Me Not: Ellie picks feathers out of a toy bird to determine whether Jeddy loves her or not. Turns out he does.
- Meaningful Name: Mr. West, anyone?
- The Missionary: Mr. West is a YMCA missionary. How fitting that he brought a cowboy along.
- Red Scare: Mr. West and Jeddy are paranoid about the Bolsheviks due to what they've heard about them in the U.S. This makes Mr. West easy prey for a gang of criminals who want his American money.
- Slasher Smile: The Countess has a truly terrifying smile.
- The Vamp: As an intertitle proclaims, "The Countess employs all her resources." Thus, she tries to seduce the married Mr. West, although he stays faithful to his wife back home.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Mr. West's briefcase contains a pair of star-spangled socks.