The Thirteen (1937) - full transcript

A band of soldiers, escorting some civilians across an Asian wasteland , are set upon and surrounded at a waterhole by a notorious horde of bandits . The soldiers determine to hold off the bandits until hoped-for reinforcements arrive.

Our film marking the 20th Anniversary
of the October Revolution
is dedicated to the Red Armymen


Written by Iosif PRUT, Mikhail ROMM

Directed by Mikhail ROMM

Producer: Lev Indenbom

Director of Photography: Boris VOLCHEK
assistant: S. Uralov

Music by Anatoly ALEKSANDROV
conducted by Lev Shtejnberg

assistant director: K. Eggers
editor: T. Likhacheva
sound: V. Leshchyov, B. Volskij

sets: V. Yegorov, M. Karyakin
military consultant: V. Afonskij

Commander - I. NOVOSELTSEV
His wife - E. KUZMINA

Geologist - A. CHISTYAKOV
Half Colonel SKURATOV - A. FAIT





A Mosfilm Studio Production, 1936

Ten Red Armymen went into civvies
having put their terms in Central Asia.

They headed to the railroad to receive
liberty passes in town and repair homeward.

[They had three companions:
the commander of the neighboring frontier station,
his wife, and a geologist who joined them on the way.]

How far is the well,
Comrade Commander?

- A well!
- A well!

It's filled up.

Water is gone.

It's recent.

What son of a bitch could do it?

We have to go back.

What do you mean 'back'?

I'm not here to entertain,
young man.

- I'm in a hurry!
- Don't worry, Comrade Scientist.

- We'll be there in time.
- We'll certainly be.

- Shall we, Comrade Commander?
- Mount!

Stand at the left flank please.

Maria, join the ranks.

Right dress!


Comrade Commander,
I can't stand at attention.

Who is talking on parade?

- Your name?
- Gusev.

- Yours?
- Akchurin.







Ata Kuliev.


Mine? It's Postnikov usually.

Comrades, it's a five-hours ride
to the next well.

We aren't resting here. No time.

You'll drink only at my command.

We can go home
even without drinking.

Stop talking!

I repeat: you'll only drink
at my command.


Any questions?

Fall out!

Pardon, can I speak now?

You're welcome!

Sorry for bothering you,
Comrade Commander,

but I don't understand.

As far as I know, the Red
Armymen are returnees.

Logically speaking, they
needn't listen to you.

According to your own words,
you're having a 3-months vacation.

I'm a geologist.

The lady is a civilian too.

Why are you teaming us into
some sort of a troop

or a squadron or
whatever you call it?

I can neither stand at attention,
nor fall out.

- I refuse to understand it.
- Don't worry.

No problem. You'll learn to
stand at attention, fall out,

- And right dress.
- But I don't want it!

It's not allowed.

You can in no way say so,
Comrade Scientist.

Forget the very word 'I don't want'.



[From the south, the desert was frequented by the Basmachi
and a burning hot wind, the "Afgani".]

Follow me!

Comrade Commander, follow me!

It's here!

Comrade Muradov!
Let's check on the horses.

Does anyone have water?

- Just a sip.
- Give it to him!

There should be a well somewhere.

The "Afgani" came suddenly,
and as suddenly ceased.

Got it!

Timoshkin, Levkoev! Water!

Plenty of water!

The Maxims!

They stored lots of cartridges.

Comrade Akchurin, take care
of the machine-guns.

Comrade Sviridenko,
explore the well.

There's no water.

It's gone. It's just mud.

Drop a pot! There's
some dripping.

- How is it?
- It's still dripping.

Comrade Commander?

The machine-guns are brand new.

- From abroad?
- Sort of.

Sviridenko? How is it?

It's dripping here!

You see, we searched for water
and found machine-guns.

It's hot.

Ivan, how long
shall we stay here?

Calculate yourself.

A pot per person makes
thirteen pots.

And five pots per horse.

- I don't like it all.
- What?

- Guns in the well.
- Why?

It's Basmachi. They'll come
back to pick them up.

Are you afraid?

- I think we'd better leave.
- Without water?

I can't.

Haul! Carefully.

Seven and a half minutes per pot.

Drop another pot!

Comrade Commander!

Everyone takes three sips.

Aleksandr Petrovich, go ahead.

Maria Nikolaevna, please.

# In our village

# there is a river.

# A cold stream.

Having a bucket in front of you,
you don't seem to be so thirsty.

Aren't you? You liar!

- Thirty seven.
- Thirty seven.

It's the thirty seventh pot.

Comrade Commander, can we water
horses by the morning?

Six buckets.

Are you thirsty?

I'm thirsty too.

We don't have any water.

I'll be so sorry to leave her.

- So sorry!
- To leave who?

My girlfriend.

The 375 rifle.

It was made in 1891

at the Izhevsk armoury.

Number 115 854.

Here you are, bro!

You should have felt sorry
for it earlier.

There's a scratch in the bore

and some sand
at the bullet chamber.

I know!

I have a better girlfriend.

A beauty!

Made in 1911.


like Maria Nikolaevna's.


like Maria Nikolaevna's.

Even better!

You're lying!

Shaitan! [devil]

Comrade Commander, 3 horsemen
are approaching!


They left.

Saddle horses. Hurry!

Ivan, what was it?

Scouts. The whole party
will be here soon.

Who is there?

Comrade Commander,
he's asking for water.

Comrade Akchurin!


Who is your leader?

I don't know.

Who is the leader? [Turkish]

Shirmat Khan.

Two days without water?

Three days.

- How many people?
- Two hundred.

- Did anybody have water?
- No.

We came here for water.
Give us water!

When is Shirmat Khan
going to be here?

In half an hour.

Give us water!

The Shirmat Khan's gang, 200 men.

They didn't have water
for 3 days.

Let him go.

- Comrade Commander.
- I said let him go.

Let him tell Shirmat Khan that
there are the Red here;

that they are few, and
there is a lot of water.


- Are you in a hurry?
- I am.

- Don't hurry.
- Why?

Just don't.

Belay mounting! Come here.

Sit down Comrades.

You too, Comrade Timoshkin.

You know who Shirmat Khan is.

A few days ago,

in the village of Taudyr,

he massacred 70 people,

filled in the wells and left.

We tried to capture him
for a year,

but we didn't succeed.

We failed, because we didn't
know where his wells are.

Where he drinks.

It's his well! He drinks here.

Our people have searched
for him near Nefes-Kula,

but he's used this well.

He hasn't drunk for three days,

and his horses are thirsty too.

He plans to drink here

and leave.

You know where to.

Comrades, we can ensure

that Shirmat Khan
stays here forever.

The only thing we need to do

is to keep him here, at the well,

till our friends come
from Nefes-Kula.


Make your decisions, Comrades.

There's no water here anyway.

How can he water 200 horses?

Shirmat Khan doesn't know it!

We didn't promise to show him
the well, did we?

He won't leave until he gets water.

We have 10 rifles. Too few!

- You forgot two machine-guns.
- Good, Comrade Commander.

Who volunteers to go to Nefes-Kula

and inform them about our keeping
Shirmat Khan here?

- Me.
- Me.

Comrade Muradov,

they say, you are
an excellent rider?

They do, Comrade Commander!

They say you even won
your saddle as a prize?

Yes, Comrade Commander!

Let him drink
as much as he can,

give him three flasks
for the way

and water his horse.

Pour the rest of water
to machine-guns.

Unsaddle the horses!

Comrade Zhurba,

fill all the knapsacks with sand.

If they aren't enough,
use shirts and underwear.

- You're in charge for the perimeter.
- Yes, Comrade Commander.

You should drink
as much water as you can.

Go ahead!

It's not for you.

Comrade Akchurin,

Place the first machine-gun
at that corner.

Comrade Balandin, place
the second machine-gun

here, at this corner.

Go ahead!

It's a five-hour ride
to Nefes-Kula.

It's 22 hours now.

Tell the squadron commander

that I expect him at eight
in the morning.

You can go!

Be careful, Comrade Muradov.
Shirmat Khan is nearby.

Do you know what happens
to you and us,

- if they capture you?
- I do.


Comrade Commander,

how long shall we stay here?

Are you in a hurry?

Like every old man,
I'm hurrying to live.

Aren't you in a hurry?
No, I am on vacation!

I see.

In this case, can I help you?

I'm waiting for orders.

For example, I can
stand at attention.

Can you shoot?

They are shooting at Muradov.

He'll pass clear.

He may.

He will!

We'll have to send another one.

How? There's no water to give him.

Go on working!

Comrade Commander, I see them!

Ready all!


The first machine-gun,
two strings of bursts!

It's okay.


They didn't like it!

Comrade Commander,
I see two riders!

They are negotiators.

Let them approach to 100 steps.

Maria, do we have a brush?


Ivan, unbuckle your holster.

Draw a bead at the gentleman.

It's okay.

Half Colonel Skuratov.

Squadron Commander Zhuravlev.

I have 600 men.

You have 200.

It's enough to smash you
in half an hour.

I don't know.

Do you want to know
the yielding conditions?


Throw down your arms here

and ride in this direction.

Or in that direction.

But without water.
I need it myself.

Good conditions.

Very good conditions.

We can make you a better offer.

We are going to stay here

and keep our guns with us.

Is it clear?

But we can give you water.

A bucket per horse.

Just think, 200 buckets of water.

In exchange for the head of...

Shirmat Khan!

We can also give you a pot
of water per person

in exchange for your head,
Half Colonel Skuratov.

Unfortunately, your terms
are unacceptable for us.

I think it's a fair price.

I give you five minutes to
reflect, if you want to live.

I give you five minutes to
reflect, if you want to drink.

Tell me, do they learn
things like

recollection or,
let's say, brilliance

- in the Red Army?
- Certainly.

Do they teach it?

As a separate subject.

Very interesting!

They are about to attack us.

They shouldn't take us alive.

- Do you understand it?
- I do.

- Maria!
- I'm not afraid.

Now please do what I say.

Try to stay over there.
In a shelter.

Yes, Comrade Commander!

Comrade Commander,
water is over!

It isn't dripping any longer!

- How much do we have?
- Over a half of a bucket.

Cherish it like an apple
of your eye.

You're responsible for every drop.

Yes, sir. I'll cherish it.

- What elevation is there?
- Six.

How are you, Comrade Balandin?

- Fine.
- Very good.

Attention! They are ready.

They're approaching,
Comrade Commander.

At my command.

Shoot on your own. Use
cartridges sparingly.

I appoint Comrade Akchurin
my understudy.

Yes, Comrade Commander.

Their machine-guns
won't shoot for long.

They don't have water.

- You shouldn't worry.
- You shouldn't either.


They turned back!

Stop fire!

They retreated.

What if they don't come back,
Comrade Commander?

They can't leave without water.

We shouldn't face them down,
or else they can leave.

They may have other wells.

No! They don't have any.

They did leave.

- Do you see them at the right?
- Yes.

Throw a couple of bursts.

Do you think Muradov
will make it overnight?

Of course he will.

It's a five-hours ride to Nefes-Kula

or a twelve-hours walk.

I'm sorry for the horses.

We lost them.

They were good horses.

By the way,

I had an incident with a horse
at our station.

The commander sent me
with a postal packet.

Where did he send you?

To some place.

So I went. And the night
was pitchy dark.

But I went on and on.

Then my horse stopped
and wouldn't go further.

- Either back or forward.
- Why didn't you dismount?

I couldn't. It was in
the middle of a mire.

Then I saw something nearby.

- Glittering?
- No. Darkening.

But I couldn't come closer.
The horse wouldn't go.

So I got off the horse.

In the middle of the mire?

Mire! I'd passed it already!
You better listen.

He's telling fibs again!

Why should he lie all the time?

Shut up! You'd better listen.

We've nothing to do anyway.

Okay, go on lying.

I can't go on now.

My muse is mute.

You lied so excitedly.

Stand by!

They are attacking!


It's an extra one.

There are nine people left.


Stop fire!

Maria Nikolaevna, could you
stitch up the bags?


Mitya, what is it?

Stand by!


Comrade Commander,

They're carrying a white flag!

Comrade Commander!

I'm Comrade Commander!

I'm the Commander!
Listen to my command!

It's for the negotiations.
Let them approach to 100 steps.

Comrade Timoshkin, go out

and speak with them.

Speak calmly.

I order you to smile
at the negotiations.

Comrade Petrov!

Stand properly before
the commander!

Where is your balalaika?

Take it and play.

Play merrily!

Comrade Sviridenko, take
the water from the well.

Yes, Comrade Commander!

- Is it all?
- It is, Comrade Commander.

Okay. We'll spare it
as long we can.

- Tell Commander I want him.
- I substitute him.

You see, he's just washed
and is having tea.

He ordered me to speak for him.

Are you authorized to negotiate?

I am.

Half Colonel Skuratov.


Is it hot, Timoshkin?

Not really.
We're chilling out.

They are washing.

Pardon, are you maybe thirsty?

Thank you.

I am not.

Just don't hold back please.

By the way, your
machine-guns are silent.

Are they thirsty too?

- You were 13, weren't you?
- Yes.

Are you now five?

Is the commander drinking tea
with the others?

- He is.
- Let's be brief.

You water my people and horses
and we leave.

We won't touch you.
You may stay here overwinter.

Dear sir, it's too bad!

Why didn't you say it yesterday?
We'd have agreed.

By jingo we'd have.

But out prices have changed today.

You are slow goods, you know.

But we'll give you water.

One bucket of water

for the head of Shirmat Khan.

As for you, we'll break even:
Pot for pot.

I'm not joking!

I'm serious too.

Very well.

In this case,
I don't recommend

you to surrender!

Interesting! We're going to
capture you alive.


I can't stand it!

Tell them that there is
no water here!

Shut up!

Hey you, listen!

There's no...



Hey you, listen!

Quit hold of his head.

Water, give water!

Don't get nervous, my dear.

Calm down please.

I beg you.


Why are you shouting?

Who are you shouting to?

To the officer.

They will hear you and leave.

We tried to catch them
for a year.

Give it a good thought please.

Do it quietly.

Very quietly.

Stand up!

Comrade Timoshkin,
give me water!

Have a drink, Comrade Petrov.



Akchurin, he'll get away!

He won't.

Comrade Timoshkin, use
the water for machine-guns.

If some is left, cherish it
like an apple of your eye.

Yes, Comrade Commander!

It's my turn.

How shall I handle it?


Don't hurry, Comrade Scientist.

Don't pull the trigger.

Just single an aim and
lead the bead from below.

Point the bead at the aim,
Comrade Scientist.

Align the sightline.

The bead should overlap
the sighting notch.

Pull the trigger slowly
and don't worry.

Is it clear, Comrade Scientist?

No, it isn't.

Firstly, I can't
help worrying.

Secondly, it's very

I can explain it.

First of all, stop worrying.

Secondly, the sightline

should go from your eye
through the sighting notch

and the bead to the target aim point.

- Is it clear, Comrade Scientist?
- Yes, it is.

But when looking at the bead,
I loose the target.

Looking at the target,
I loose the bead.

I think it's a natural property
of the eye, isn't it?

No. It has nothing to do
with your eye.

You should hate the target.

Just try and hate the target.

Then you'll hit it without fail.

But the bead should be aligned
with the sighting notch.

Stand by!



Shirmat Khan.

There. Twelve of our people.

Follow my trail.

You'll find my rifle and saddle.

- Please hurry.
- Go ahead!

He was a good old man. A scientist!

A man of letters!

He was kind.

- He was married.
- Was he?

Of course he was!

It isn't so boring
here when you're two.

Of course not!

Talk to me, Timoshkin.

You know, I'm very sorry
for Maria Nikolaevna.

She was a good woman!

A remarkable woman!

She felt sorry for the Commander.

She carried water.
Do we have any?

Half a pot.

Cherish it as an apple of
your eye, Timoshkin.

Don't touch it without
my command.

Yes, Comrade Commander.

- Timoshkin!
- Yes?

- Talk to me more, Timoshkin.

What shall I tell you?

It's nothing to talk about.

- I could tell a fib though.
- Please do.


Once I went along
the street at night.

Suddenly, a window
opened at the other side.

And I saw...

A beautiful girl in the window.

Dressed in white.

She stood and smiled.



Don't joke like that!

Don't joke please.

Okay, come here,

Come here, bastards!

Come here, bastards!

You won't get me!

Go ahead!

Yusuf Akchurin, a returnee
Red Armyman.

Heading home.

Thank you for your service.

Ready to be of service to the workers!

Our neighbor is here.

We did warn you that
we would capture you alive.

And what did you do?


It's something we don't have.

There's no water here.

I wanted to tell you

that you were trying in vain,

but I was too busy.

It was bad luck.

People of our division:

Petr Sviridenko,

Dmitry Levkoev,

Ata Kuliev,

Nikolai Gusev,

Aleksei Timoshkin,



Commander Zhuravlev
of the frontier station,

his wife and comrade-in-arms,

and scientist Comrade Postnikov

lay in the bed of honor

as commendable children of
the Socialist Motherland.

Remember their names!


The end