Versatile Taxi Drivers

Not always they simply render you professional services, tailored to your exact destinations. Some taxi drivers are actually larger than life. At least, several movies furnish the audience with engaging characters, who literally drive us mad. Don’t worry! I am not going to present you worn-out imagery of too well known heroes like the Martin Scorcese’s taxi driver. We will call quite different sort of taxi drivers. Soviet hackies were in the class of their own. They didn’t merely provide transportation. Their status was special in the USSR, where automobiles were a rare commodity. No wonder that Soviet moviemakers didn’t miss their opportunity to exploit this subject.

Romantic comedy «Музыкальная история» (The Musical Story, directed by Alexander Ivanovsky and Herbert Rappaport, produced by Lenfilm Studios, 1940) is a type of Cinderella fairy tale came true. A taxi driver in Leningrad City eventually becomes an opera singer! Incidentally, the melodious cabby’s role was performed by an outstanding tenor Sergei Lemeshev. A box-office sensation, hilarious comedy «Бриллиантовая рука» (The Diamond Arm, directed by Leonid Gaidai, produced by Mosfilm Studios, 1968) has an unequivocal message to convey: beware of taxi drivers! Some of them might be KGB officers. However, in this case the KGB gets hurt, when he has offered a pistol-shaped lighter to his passenger. Another humorous embodiment of an extraordinary taxi driver includes famous stand-up comedian Arkady Raikin, who plays a witty cabman in TV mini-series «Люди и манекены» (Human Beings and Mannequins, directed by Victor Khramov and Arkady Raikin, produced by Studio Ekran, 1974).

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