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Bennie the Howl (Benya Krik)

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Bennie the Howl (Benya Krik)
Benya Krik Poster.jpg
Original Poster
Country SOV.jpg USSR
Directed by Vladimir Vilner
Release Date 1926
Language Silent
Studio VUFKU (Odessa)
Main Cast
Character Actor
Benya Krik Yuri Shumsky
Mendel Krik Matvei Lyarov
Sobkov Sergei Minin
Ruvim Tartakovskiy Evgeniy Lepkovsky
Froim Grach Osip Merlatti
Lyovka Byk Teodor Brainin
Kol'ka Pakovskiy Nikolai Nademsky
Dvoira Krik Anna Goricheva

Bennie the Howl (Benya Krik; the American release title incorrectly translates "Krik" as a nickname while this is a Jewish surname) is a 1926 Soviet B&W silent film directed by Vladimir Vilner. The plot is adapted from both Isaak Babel's short stories The Odessa Tales and the real life of Mikhail Vinnitsky aka Mishka Yaponchik, the prototype of the titular character. Benya Krik, nicknamed "The King", is a crime boss of Jewish descent in the city of Odessa. His gang organises protection racket, and when one of the Odessa richmen refuses to pay, Benya robs his bank. During the Russian Civil War, Benya under the influence of Bolshevik Sobkov teams with Reds, reforming his gang into a Red Army regiment. But instead of fighting against the enemies of the revolution, the "regiment" continues robberies and revellings, and at last Benya finds his bitter end.


Nagant M1895

Nagant M1895 revolvers are seen in hands of Benya Krik (Yuri Shumsky), Froim Grach (Osip Merlatti) and Lyovka Byk (Teodor Brainin) during the bank robbery in 1917. The head of the Militsiya of the Provisional Government Tsysin (Leonid Chembarskiy) and several of his subordinates also carry Nagants. In the scenes, set during the Russian Civil War, Nagants are used by Red Commissar Sobkov (Sergei Minin) and his aide Kochetkov (Ivan Sizov).

Russian Nagant 1895, produced 1920s - 7.62x38R Nagant. The rounded front sight is a sign of revolvers produced from 1890s until 1930.
During the robbery Benya orders the bank manager to open the safe under the threat of the gun.
Benya holds his Nagant.
Froim Grach aims his Nagant at a cashier.
Lyovka Byk holds his Nagant.
Tsysin appears from the armored car, holding a Nagant and a Colt M1911. His aide (at the left) holds a Nagant and a Mauser C96.
The revolvers of Tsysin and his aide are seen.
In the scene, set during the Russian Civil War, Commissar Sobkov draws his Nagant when Benya disobeys the orders.
Kochetkov stops Sobkov from direct confrontation, and Sobkov unclenches his fist, letting the revolver hang on the lanyard.
In the final scene Kochetkov kills Benya.

Unidentified revolver

During the robbery Saveliy Butsis (Aleksandr Sashin) and Lyovka Byk (Teodor Brainin) hold revolvers of unclear model. Possibly this is a single gun that is seen in hands of different characters due to continuity errors. The revolver bears resemblance with Webley RIC family but seems to lack the swing-out ejector rod.

Drunk Saveliy Butsis brandishes his revolver. When later he fires at the bank manager, his gun switches to a Nagant.
Benya Krik-Revolver-2A.jpg
Lyovka blithely carries the revolver tucked in his belt with the barrel upward.
The grips of Lyovka's revolver is seen. In next moment this gun switches to a Nagant.
Lyovka's revolver again switches from the Nagant to the unidentified model.

Smith & Wesson No. 3 Russian Model

In the scene, set in 1914, Russian Imperial police personnel carry Smith & Wesson No. 3 Russian Model revolvers. The revolvers are seen only in holsters. Small parts of the grips and the lanyards prove that the holsters aren't empty.

Uberti No 3 New Model Russian Top Break - replica of the Smith & Wesson No. 3 Russian Model - .44 Russian/.45 Long Colt
A Gorodovoy (policemen in Russian Empire) carries a Smith & Wesson in holster. The lanyard is seen.
Benya Krik-SWRussianModel-2.jpg
A small part of the grip is seen.


Colt M1911

Abdullah the Persian (Georgi Astafyev) and Kol'ka Pakovskiy (Nikolai Nademsky) carry Colt M1911 pistols during the bank robbery. Tsysin (Leonid Chembarskiy) holds an M1911 together with a Nagant M1895. Benya Krik (Yuri Shumsky) carries an M1911 in the final scene.

Original Colt M1911 (dated 1913) - .45 ACP
Abdullah's Colt is seen at the right.
Kol'ka aims his Colt at the bank employes.
Kol'ka's pistol is seen at the background right.
]Tsysin proudly poses with a Colt in hand and two Nagant M1895 revolvers tucked in his belt.
Tsysin appears from the turret of the armored car, holding a Colt and a Nagant.
Tsysin with his handguns.
A Colt is seen on the table during the gambling.
Benya greets Commissar Sobkov, covertly holding a Colt.
Benya carries a Colt tucked in his belt.
In the final scene Benya draws his pistol, understanding that his men turn away from him, but is disarmed by Kochetkov.

Steyr M1912

Benya Krik (Yuri Shumsky) carries a Steyr M1912 in addition to a Nagant M1895 revolver in one scene, set during the Civil War. Later Kol'ka Pakovskiy (Nikolai Nademsky) is seen with a Steyr 1912.

Steyr-Hahn M1912 (1913 mfg) - 9x23mm Steyr
Benya carries a Steyr 1912 tucked in his belt. Later he carries a Colt M1911.
Benya Krik-Steyr1912-2.jpg
Kol'ka holds a Steyr 1912.

Roth-Steyr M1907

During the bank robbery, Froim Grach's (Osip Merlatti) Nagant switches to a Roth-Steyr M1907 pistol and then back to the revolver.

Roth-Steyr M1907 - 8mm Roth-Steyr
Froim Grach holds his Roth-Steyr pistol at the background right.
Another view of the pistol.
What appears to be a Roth-Steyr is seen on the table during the gambling.

Mauser C96

Tsysin's aide carries a Mauser C96 when the Militsiya goes to the place of the robbery.

Pre-War dated Mauser C96 "Broomhandle" Commercial Version - 7.63x25mm Mauser
A Mauser in holster is seen when Tsysin and other Militsiya personnel prepare to visit the place of the robbery.
Tsysin's aide at the foreground holds the Mauser in holster.
Benya Krik-MauserC96-3.jpg
The Mauser in seen in hands of the same character when he argues with Tsysin.


Mosin Nagant M1891 Infantry

Nearly all Red Army men, including the personnel of Benya Krik's "regiment", are armed with Mosin Nagant M1891 Infantry rifles.

Imperial Russian Mosin Nagant M1891 Infantry - 7.62x54mm R
Benya Krik-Mosin91-1.jpg
In Summer 1917, the personnel of the volunteer Women's Battalion march with M91 Infantry rifles.
A close view of the bolt.
A row of rifles is seen at the background in the "barracks" of Benya's "regiment".
A sailor carries an M91 Infantry rifle.
A man at the right carries an M91 Infantry rifle.
Kochetkov (Ivan Sizov) with the rifle.
Red Army men with rifles.
Red Army men encircle the train with Benya's "regiment" in the final scene.

Mosin Nagant M1891 Dragoon

Several Mosin Nagant M1891 Dragoon rifles are also seen in hands of the Red Army men in the final scene.

Imperial Russian Mosin Nagant M1891 Dragoon - 7.62x54mm R
Several M91 Dragoon rifles are seen together with M91 Infantry rifles.

Mosin Nagant "Obrez"

Mosin Nagant "obrez" sawed-off rifles are seen in hands of several of Benya Krik's men.

A man in center carries an "obrez".
Second from the left man holds an "obrez".

Berthier Mle 1892 Artillery Carbine

Berthier Mle 1892 Artillery Carbines are briefly seen in several scenes.

Berthier Mle 1892 Artillery Carbine - 8x50mm R
One of the Benya's men in center carries a Berthier carbine.
Note the turned down bolt handle.
A Red Army man at the left holds what appears to be the same Berthier Mle 1892 carbine.

Machine Guns

Maxim M1910

Several Maxim M1910 machine guns are used by Benya Krik's "regiment". Several Maxims are mounted on Tsysin's armored car.

Maxim M1910, simplified version with smooth water jacket - 7.62x54mmR
A Maxim in mounted in the turret of the armored car.
Benya Krik-Maxim-1.jpg
Benya's men load two Maxims in the railway wagon together with the loot.

Other Weapons

F1 Hand Grenade

Some of Benya Krik's men carry F1 hand grenades.

F1 High-Explosive Fragmentation hand grenade with Mle1916 Billant fuse.
One of Benya's men carries an F1 grenade.
A man at the right carries an F1 grenade.

RG-14 Hand Grenade

Some of Benya Krik's men carry RG-14 hand grenades.

RG-14 Russian hand grenade (Model 1914 grenade)
One of Benya's men carries an RG-14 tucked in his belt together with a Nagant M1895 revolver.
A man in center carries an RG-14 grenade.


Armored Car

An armored car, armed with Maxim M1910 machine guns in the turret and in the sides of the hull, is used by Tsysin's Militsiya unit. This is a full-scale mockup without a direct prototype, made specially for filming. Same vehicle is also seen in Arsenal (1929).

Tsysin's armored car arrives at the place of the robbery.
The Maxim in the turret.

See Also

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