Aleksandr Razumny's 1933 football film (lost television broadcast of Soviet football match; 1933)

From The Lost Media Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Aleksandr Razumny.

Status: Lost

In 1933, film director Aleksandr Razumny conducted an experimental filming of a Soviet football match. It was broadcast on television the day after it was recorded, with commentary provided by Valentin Granatkin. It is considered the earliest known instance of a televised football match.


Aleksandr Razumny's film career began in the 1910s, prior to the Russian Revolution.[1][2][3] His works would be influenced by his studies at Grekov Odesa Art School, which concluded three years before the Soviet Union's takeover.[2] Despite the difficulties he and other prominent Russian filmmakers had transitioning to Soviet standards, he quickly became a member of the ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[3] His 1917 film The Life and Death of Lieutenant Schmidt is considered the first film released under the Soviet Union.[1] From there, he primarily directed war and revolution drama films like the 1919 silent propaganda work Comrade Abram;[4][5][1] However, one of his more notable works was the 1940 film Timur and His Team, an adaptation of Arkady Gaidar's children's novel.[4][1] Interestingly enough, the book and film reportedly encouraged many Soviet children to perform extensive charitable work during the Second World War.[6]

In April 1931, the Soviet Union began experimenting with mechanical television broadcasts, which were conducted at the Moscow Radio Broadcasting Hub (MRBH)'s fledgling Television Laboratory and overseen by Razumny.[7][8][9][1] Some progress was made, including the display of moving pictures, though it soon became clear that all-electronic televisions would pave the way forward.[7][8][9] Nevertheless, more mechanical television experiments soon emerged in 1932 and 1933, including the first Soviet television film (The Face of International Capitalism),[9][1] to the broadcasting of sports.[10][11] Outside Russia, test broadcasts had been conducted with the 1931 Epsom Derby becoming the first televised sporting event.[12] However, football coverage had not yet been achieved in any country.[13][11] Likely stemming from his Communist Party connections,[3] Razumny was chosen to demonstrate the viability of football broadcasts in the Soviet Union.[10][11] His plan was to record the match and then present the coverage the following day with commentary.[10][11]

Alas, not much is known about the match itself.[10][11][13] No sources detail the competing teams, when the game itself took place, nor the final score.[10][11] Since the MRBH primarily conducted its television experiments in Moscow,[1] it can be assumed the match transpired in the city for geographical purposes.[7][13] Razumny recorded the game with silent celluloid film because sound television broadcasts were not possible in Russia until November 1934.[14][10][7][8] But envisioning the clear importance commentary would have in future sports coverage, Razumny enlisted football player Valentin Granatkin to provide narration.[10][11][14][13] At the time, Granatkin's was Serp i Molot's goalkeeper, though he would achieve greater recognition playing for Lokomotiv Moscow and representing the Soviet Union national football team.[15][16][11] He also simultaneously played top-level ice hockey; post-career, he became the Chairman of the Football Federation of the Soviet Union, and would also become the first Vice President of FIFA, having held the position for two separate spells.[15]

The broadcast occurred with Granatkin providing live commentary.[10][11][14][13] Overall, the film was seen as an authentic - and indeed, historic - piece of television media.[10][11][13] However, some criticism was reportedly directed at the fact the game was pre-recorded.[10][9] Live football coverage would first materialise in the mid-to-late 1930s courtesy of Germany and the United Kingdom, the latter occurring in front of a domestic audience in 1937.[17][13] In contrast, Razumny's broadcast was seen by an extremely limited audience, since no domestic televisions were manufactured until the following year with the B-2's introduction.[18][11][9] Even then, the first public airings did not emerge until 1938, with the Soviet Union now relying on devices produced in the United States.[8] The Second World War curtailed further tests until the mid-to-late-1940s.[7][8] Finally, on 2nd May 1949, the first live football coverage in the Soviet Union emerged, which saw Dynamo Moscow beat CDKA Moscow 3-1.[11][14][13] Not long after his historic broadcast, Razumny returned to cinema work after television experiments were temporarily halted.[1]


Unlike many other early television broadcasts,[19] Razumny's film was pre-recorded on silent film.[10][11][14] However, no footage from it has since publicly resurfaced. Considering the film's sheer obscurity outside Russia, the lack of key match information, its single-purpose usage and the fact the broadcast occurred over 90 years ago, it is possible no copy of the film has survived.

See Also

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Alexander Efimovich Razumny biography on Aleksandr Razumny (article in Russian). Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  2. 2.0 2.1 Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema detailing the career of Razumny. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Kino summarising Razumny becoming a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and how his work retained the cinema methods taught before the Russian Revolution. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mosmetod summarising the film Timur and His Team and Razumny's works (article in Russian). Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  5. The National Center for Jewish Film summarising the 1919 Razumny work Comrade Abram. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  6. Soviet Schooling in the Second World War summarising the impact Timur and His Team had on Soviet children during the Second World War. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Russia-IC summarising the early history of Russian television under the experiments of the All-Union Electrotechnical Institute. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Loughborough University summarising key milestones of early Soviet television. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Archived 625 providing key facts and dates surrounding the development of Soviet television. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 Day of Literature summarising the broadcast and the criticism over it being pre-recorded (article in Russian). Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 Championat summarising Razumny's broadcast with Granatkin's commentary, and how the broadcast was viewed by a tiny audience (article in Russian). Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  12. Baird Television detailing how the 1931 Epsom Derby was televised. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 Football USSR Nostalgia providing a VK post listing the earliest known football television broadcasts. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Gazeta summarising Razumny's broadcast, which was recorded with silent film (article in Russian). Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  15. 15.0 15.1 Valentin Granatkin Memorial summarising the life and career of Granatkin. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  16. Transfermarkt profile on Granatkin. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  17. The Guardian summarising the Arsenal-Arsenal Reserves broadcast on 16th September 1937. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  18. Early Television summarising the B-2, the first domestically produced Soviet television. Retrieved 21st Nov '23
  19. Web Archive article discussing how most early television is missing due to the lack of the direct recording of television. Retrieved 21st Nov '23