Mister X (1958 film)

Mister X (Russian: Мистер Икс, romanized: Mister Iks) is a Russian musical comedy film directed by Yuli Khmelnitsky. It is based on the Leningrad Theatre of Musical Comedy operetta of the same name from 1956. The operetta itself was a Russian adaptation of Emmerich Kálmán's Die Zirkusprinzessin.[1][2]

Mister X
Directed byYuli Khmelnitsky
Written byYuli Khmelnitsky
Nora Rubinstein
Based onDie Zirkusprinzessin
by Imre Kálmán
StarringGeorg Ots
Music byImre Kálmán
CinematographyYuli Khmelnitsky
Edited byN. Razumova
Release date
  • 1958 (1958)
Running time
95 minutes
CountrySoviet Union

Filming began in 1957, with many of the actors and artists from the Leningrad Theatre working on the film. It premiered in the Soviet Union and other countries on the May 2nd, 1958.[3][4]


A mysterious man under the name Mister Iks performs in the circle, playing violin, on a chair suspended in the air by ropes. His breathtakingly sad melodies reflect his internal turmoil — his love with a noble lady and the fact his relationship is frowned upon by society. A beautiful story of friendship, love, and circus are accompanied by the voices of the actors.[5]

Although the music is from Kálmán's operetta, the setting was changed from Tsarist Russia to France.[6]

At one point, Marie Latouche performs the 20 minute dance on the drum, which was made to out do Lyubov Orlova's famous dance on the gun in Circus (1936).


  • Georg Ots as Mister X
  • Marina Yurasova as Theodora Verdier (Princess Fedora Palinska in the operetta, vocals by Tamara Bogdanova)[7]
  • Glikeriya Bogdanova-Chesnokova as Karolina (Carla Schlumberger in the operetta)
  • Grigoriy Yarhon as Pelican (Samuel Pressburger in the operetta)
  • Zoya Vinogradova as Marie Latouche (Miss Mabel Gibson in the operetta)
  • Nikolay Kashirsky as Toni (Toni Schlumberger in the operetta)
  • Anatoly Korolkevich as Baron de Kreveliyak (Prinz Sergius Wladimir in the operetta)
  • Oskar Lints (or Lintz) as Poisson (Count Sakusin in the operetta)
  • David Volosov as Director of the circus (Director Stanislawski in the operetta)
  • Yefim Kopelyan as a Theodora's fan (uncredited)
  • Georgy Kuhlbush as a Theodora's fan (uncredited)
  • Gennady Khudyakov as boy-servant (uncredited)


  • Script writers: Nora Rubinstein, Yuli Khmelnitsky
  • Poetry by Olga Fadeeva (Kálmán's music was used, but all Russian text for songs was changed by Olga Fadeeva).
  • Directed by Yuliy Khmelnitsky
  • Operator: Vladimir Burykin
  • Designers: Abram Veksler, Yevgeniy Yeney
  • Stage manager: Viktor Sadovsky
  • Soundman: Rostislav Lapinsky
  • Costume designer: Tamara Levitskaya
  • Film editor: N. Razumova
  • Circus consultant: Georgy Venetsianov
  • Editors: Isaac Glikman, Andrey Donatov
  • Trick filming:
    • Operator: B. Dudov
    • Designers: Maria Kandat, Marina Bologovskaya
  • Orchestra of the Leningrad Theatre of Musical Comedy
    • Conductor: Mikhail Volovats
  • Choreographer: Leonid Travinin
  • Film directors: Pyotr Nikashin, A. Dombrovsky

Changes from the operetta

Although the film was based on Die Zirkusprinzessin, The Circus Princess by the Hungarian composer Emmerich Kálmán, which had premiered at Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 26 March 1926, significant changes had to be made because the operetta was set in Tsarist Russia and as such had many themes which were unacceptable to the censors.[8] The film was moved from Saint Petersburg to Paris, the characters became French, and Hussar Aria of Mister X was replaced by Marine Aria.[9] The actor Grigory Yaron who played Pelican wrote:

No any Kalman's operetta had so many different variants in the USSR as The Circus Princess, and when it had the first appearance in the Soviet Union, the operetta had one embodiment in Moscow, and different one in Leningrad. So, the first comic of the theatrical troupe in Moscow portrayed the Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia during his exile in Paris. Instead of the troupe a rich American appeared in Leningrad theatre, where Pelican was portrayed as a waiter working at a restaurant while at the same time as a White Russian General; emigres disappeared from further variants of this operetta.[10]


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