Two banned films: “Conscience of the World” (USSR, 1951) and “Silver Dust” (USSR, 1953).

The Conscience of the World. USSR, 1951. Directed by Abram Room. Screenwriter Lev Shenin. Actors: Mikhail Astangov, Lyudmila Skopina, Valentina Ushakova, Arkady Tolbuzin, Nikolai Garin, Mikhail Balduman, Rostislav Platt and others.

Silver Dust. USSR, 1953. Directed by Abram Room. Scriptwriters Alexander Filimonov and August Jacobson (based on A. Jacobson’s play “The Jackals”). Actors: Mikhail Balduman, Sofia Pilyavskaya, Valentina Ushakova, Nikolai Timofeev, Vsevolod Larionov, Vladimir Belokurov, Rostislav Platt, Lydia Smirnova and others.

In post-war times, director Abram Room (1894–1976) became a kind of a record-breaker among directors whose films were banned for screening. At first, it happened to the film “In the Mountains of Yugoslavia” (1946), which was sung by the guerrillas led by Tito: soon after the film was released, it was banned because of the quarrel between the USSR and Yugoslavia.

In the political drama “Conscience of Peace” (1951) Abram Room brought to the forefront of the figure of a certain Danish physicist who does not want the atomic bomb served imperialism, and joined the Communist Party.

Shortly after the beginning (about a third of the planned material was filmed) the shooting of “Conscience of the World” was stopped: there is a version that the Soviet leadership did not want to quarrel with Norway because of the negative image of Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun (1859–1952), who approved of Nazism and Nazi policy in Norway.

Today, the materials of the saved 37 minutes of the film “Conscience of the World” can only be viewed at the Russian State Film Fund…

The premiere of the anti-American film Abraham Room “Silver Dust” was held October 19, 1953, but the film was actually seen by few viewers, soon it was banned from the cinema / TV show for many years …

“Silver Dust” is made in the genre of political fiction: some American scientist invents radioactive dust that militarists want…

Of course, today’s look in this movie inevitably catches the eye of all sorts of “gaffe” images of the bourgeois world and its morals, but “but the film is still fascinating, the spence has not faded. The fact that Room defeated the archetype “Dr. Frankenstein,” a victim of the researcher’s own immoral excitement. Well, about the Maccartist America, the Americans themselves told and filmed something that Room seems almost “lacquer” real creep” (Trofimenkov, 2014). Trofimenkov M. Temptation of Surrealism // Kommersant Weekend. № 7. 28.02.2014, p. 36.

As a result, having received a ban on his three films in a row by the mid-1950s, Abram Room decided not to tempt fate anymore and never returned to international politics in his works. And in the 1960s and 1970s, he generally moved away from contemporary themes, turning to screen versions of Russian classical literature.

Alexander Fedorov, 2020

Film Critic and Film Historian