Lieutenant Kije

One of the great films of its epoch is all but unknown save for its score by Sergey Prokofiev, known to millions. It’s a colossal comedy distantly related to “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, a joke elaborated to the nth degree, as they say, with superb acting.

He’s a scribal error, poruchik Kije for poruchikizhe, just when a courtier awakens Czar Pavel I from a nap by shouting “Gawr!” when his mistress, a lady-in-waiting, pinches his bottom.

Whoever called out the guard goes on foot to Siberia, another lady explains things to the Czar, the “secret and figureless” prisoner is drummed back to the palace, made General and married to the very girl who started the affair, but dies in the hospital when summoned to the Czar, who angrily demotes the thief (a wedding present of ten thousand rubles is missing) to private, no longer guarding the Czar from anonymous notes on his invalidity and snub nose, but raises to the rank of General commanding the Guard his own courtier, whose bottom was pinched.

And there you have a satire on fictitious security realms, hommes de facture and whatnot suitable to the year in question, 1800.