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WATCH YOUR CAR

USSR, 1966 (MIFF 1967, Programme 22)

Director: Eldar Riazanov

Watch your Car is about a Robin Hood of our times and a Russian one at that: a gentle car thief who steals not for personal gain but for a children's home. Innokenty Smoktunovsky, remembered for his performance of Hamlet in the recent Russian film of the play, is the shambling, bumbling innocent of a car thief. When he is not occupied with his altruistic thievery, he is busy at playing Hamlet, albeit the worst ever. Laertes is played by the detective whose hours on duty are spent trailing the unknown thief. Smoktunovsky's parody of Hamlet in this film contrasts hilariously with his previous performance, and through the detectives on the case the film has a quiet, persistent dig at bureaucracy and its ways. But the funniest scenes occur in the sequence in which he is pursued by police in one of the best chases since the Keystone Cops: The Great Car Chase — Russian Style.

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