Letter Never Sent (film)

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Letter Never Sent
Letter Never Sent.jpg
Blu-ray disc cover
Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov
Written by Grigori Koltunov
Valeri Osipov
Viktor Rozov
Starring Tatyana Samojlova
Innokenti Smoktunovsky
Galina Kozhakina
Vasili Livanov
Cinematography Sergey Urusevsky
Edited by N. Anikina
Release date
  • 27 June 1960 (1960-06-27)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

Letter Never Sent (Russian: Неотправленное письмо, translit. Neotpravlennoye pismo, sometimes translated as The Unsent Letter or The Unmailed Letter[2]) is a 1960 Soviet adventure drama film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and starring Tatyana Samojlova.[2][3] It was entered into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival, but was withdrawn just before the screening on May 17; according to the Soviet representatives, the film was "unfinished" (as a matter of fact, Kalatozov wanted to re-shoot some sequences before the premiere in Russia).[4]

The film was shot in black-and-white with a 4:3 aspect ratio and monaural sound.[1] It was Kalatozov's follow-up to perhaps his most lauded film,[5] The Cranes Are Flying, which also starred Samojlova.


A guide and three geologists head to the boreal forest of central Siberia. After much strenuous effort and nearly running out of food, they succeed in finding diamonds in Bolshaya Zemlya. Before they can return, they are trapped by a forest fire that cuts them off from the canoe where their supplies are kept. Now the battle is to survive.[6][7]


Home video[edit]

Criterion Collection released the film in DVD and Blu-ray Disc as Letter Never Sent; according to Slant Magazine, having started with "pristine materials", "Criterion's blue-ribbon authoring is, of course, flawless, as is their uncompressed monaural track, which is as dense with human lamentations as mother nature's libidinous, murderous roar"; they note that the "bare-bones single disc" is accompanied only by an essay by film scholar Dina Iordanova, who "does a fine job establishing the film's historical context."[1]


  1. ^ a b c Christley, Jaime N. (March 18, 2012). "DVD > BLU-RAY Review – Letter Never Sent". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  2. ^ a b "Неотправленное письмо". kino-teatr.ru. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  3. ^ "Prominent Russians: Mikhail Kalatozov". russiapedia. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  4. ^ La Stampa, 18 May 1960
  5. ^ "Mikhail Kalatozov". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Envisioning Russia: A Century of Filmmaking". Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. University of California, Berkeley. 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  7. ^ "The Letter Never Sent". Camp Cinema: Russian Style. University of Pittsburgh. 2001. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 

External links[edit]