Moscow: Kinopechat’, 1926. Small octavo (15 × 12 cm). Original staple-stitched illustrated wrappers; 16 pp. Photo-illustrations throughout. Small ink stain to rear wrapper and in text, else very good.
First edition. Soviet fan biography of the American silent cinema star Milton Sills (1882-1930), co-written by the young Sergei Iutkevich (Yutkevich; 1904-1985) later one of the masters of Soviet cinema. Western pulp and adventure films and melodramas flooded the Soviet screens during NEP (New Economic Policy) creating a market for this type of fan literature. The booklet was published by the NEP-era publishing house Kinopechat’ 1925-1927 (later Tea-kino-pechat’ 1927–1929), which made most of its profits from the sales of fan post cards of domestic and foreign film stars, as well as biographical sketches such as this one. The young Iutkevich also authored a short fan biography of Max Linder, dubbed the first international film star, for Kinopechat’ in this period. A student of Vsevolod Meyerkhold, and a fan of the fast-paced American films, in 1922 Iutkevich along with Grigory Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg authored the manifesto “Eccentrism”, the founding text of the Factory of Eccentric Actor (FEKS), which “exemplified Soviet Avant-garde’s cult of Americanism” (Justus Nieland, Feeling Modern, p. 68). Iutkevich’s co-author, K. Oganesov, of whom little is known, seems to have been an expert on American cinema, publishing pamphlets on American directors, American studios as well as half a dozen fan biographies. The item features attractive wrappers with dynamic photomontage of Milton Sills (unattributed). As of January 2020, KVK and OCLC show copies at the British Library, Yale, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Cambridge and the Tate Library.
Book ID: P5987