Prolific director Grigori Alexandrov scored his first major success with The Jolly Fellows, which was distributed worldwide as Jazz Comedy, The Shepherd of Abrau and Moscow Laughs. Strongly influenced by Hollywood musicals, the film is a showcase for Alexandrov's talented and popular wife, Lyubov Orlova. She's cast as Aniuta, who falls in love with musically gifted young shepherd Kostia (Leonid Utesov). Aniuta is laboring under the misapprehension that Kostia is a famous conductor, and our hero isn't about to set her straight. Amazingly, the shepherd is able to bluff his way right to the concert stage, where he becomes a big hit in his own right. Director Alexandrov's bubbling-over ebullience and clever staging of musical numbers is a welcome relief from the dogmatic Russian propaganda pieces then in vogue.
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