We are presenting this picture not as a demonstration but as a verification of our working methods in montage and in the structuring of the frame. (...)
In selecting our human raw material we were trying to prove the necessity and the value of working as an ensemble as opposed to individual ‘stars’. Our detractors ascribe this to a shortage of ‘stars’, but a collective seems better to us than a few venerable actors’ namesfrom a reliable firm. The varied plot of MR WEST very much favoured the trial of our technical data. There are working moments in the film that need to be shown well and in an organised fashion but alongside them there is the action of the bigoted American, Mr West, and our work on that was structured, as it were, ‘after the models of the heroes of psychological fiction cinema’. Mr West is languidly photographed with doves, like Pearl White in her worst scenes, while the staging of the horrors of the ‘Bolshevik’ prison, set up by the adventurer Zhban to ‘extort’ dollars from West, follows the best models of DRCALIGARI, DR MABUSE and other examples of German mysticism. In these scenes we wanted to expose the fundamental and essential falsity of psychological fiction cinema and we were trying to show that the regular organisation of acting and montage work will give us the opportunity to get the better of every style and character of production, and in particular the American and German examples.
Lev Kuleshov, Zrelishcha, Moscow, No. 79,1924 (Translated by Richard Taylor)