The Forty-First, Boris Lavrenyev’s novella, written in only two days, has proven enduringly popular. It tells the story of a young woman snarpshooter fighting with the Reds in Turkestan. She misses her forty-first victim, a handsome White lieutenant, and ends up escorting him, by boat, into captivity across the Aral Sea. A storm, however, strands the two on an island. Sick with pneumonia, the lieutenant is nursed back to health by his Red escort, and the two fall in love. At the last, however, Mariutka shoots him dead when he tries to escape, thus making him “the forty-first.”
Sorok pervyy had been filmed as a silent, from the author’s own script, by Yakov Protazanov in 1927.
Read More »