In 1987, director Alla Surikova scored enormous success in her home country with Chelovek S Bulvara Kaputsinov, an engaging slapstick comedy about an idealistic film projectionist trying to introduce the Old West to the nascent art of motion pictures. This film, aptly named Choknutye / Crazy People, features another idealist, an Austrian engineer (Ulrich Pleitgen) who comes to 19th century Russia to build the first railroad. A group of aristocrats sees him as a direct threat to their thriving stagecoach business and they employ elaborate schemes to thwart his project. However, with the help of a dashing lieutenant (Nikolai Karachentsov), a double-dealing agent of the secret police (Leonid Yarmolnik), and a mysterious young woman named Maria (Olga Kabo), he manages to get the czar's approval.
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