Jim Ripple (Sergei Vecheslov) in an engineering student that is sent to the factory floor to observe an experiment being conducted on the assembly line floor. In the experiment the pace of the workers is increased. It results in one man going berserk and another passing out. The company was trying to increase profits by forcing the workers to go faster. It didn’t work. The outcome of the experiment shocks and disgusts Jim.
Jim believes he has come up with a solution to the problem. He will create a universal robot that can be used to perform anything required of it. His wife Mary (Anna Chekulayeva) asks him why he wants all the workers to be unemployed. Jim doesn’t see it that way. According to him using robots to create goods instead of workers means the production costs will drop. The robots will create goods so cheap that Capitalism will fall. After Jim graduates he presents his prototype robot to his family and friends. He calls the robot Micro. His brother Jack (Vladimir Gardin) believes Jim is a traitor to the workers and destroys the robot.
Undaunted in his beliefs Jim presents his idea to the company owners. They like the idea of cheap labor. The government is also interested in the robots. They look at them as being used as weapons. Jim is given a factory and anything he needs to create his robots. He calls them RUR for Ripple’s Universal Robots. Jim can control the robots through sound or radio waves. He uses a saxophone to communicate with them while he is building the radio wave devise.
In the meantime some of his engineer friends take Micro apart to find out how it ticks. If they can discover how it works than they may be able to create their own devise to control the robots and save their jobs. Also while the workers are creating the large RUR robots they are making some adjustments to them that the Capitalists aren’t aware of. Jack, in the meantime, is stirring up the workers and getting them to strike.
By the time the strike happens Jim’s robots are taking over the labor duties. A delegation from the workers union goes to the plant and finds no strike breakers because there are no laborers, just robots. An accident at the plant causes a robot to injure one of the workers that is protesting. This results in the workers attacking which causes the plant administration to call in the military. The military fire on the workers injuring and killing many. The workers run back to town as the military send the robots marching down on them.
“Loss of Feeling” AKA “Loss of Sensation” AKA “Robot of Jim Ripple” AKA” Jim Ripple’s Robot” AKA “Gibel Sensatsii” was released in 1935 and is a Soviet science fiction movie. It is based on the novella “Idut Roborati!” or “Iron Riot” by Vladimir Vladko. Vladko was known as the Jules Verne of Ukraine.
The film is absolute and total propaganda. You may have heard that it is based on Karel Capek’s play “Rossum’s Universal Robots” AKA “R.U.R.” but it’s not. Capek’s play is a story of a utopian society where the robots lead a revolution against their human creators. Here Jim lives in a dystopian society where human workers are downtrodden by the Capitalist pigs.
Jim believes that his Capitalist country is going to be the downfall of man and that there needs to be a revolution. He believes that he should make it come quicker. He believes that he can accomplish that revolution on the inside. An interesting idea but we never get to see if it would work.
There are good things and bad things about the movie. It starts slow and stays slow until the real robot action comes along. Then it gets much better. Acting is mostly stiff. Vecheslov has his moments but not many. Because of the low budget they tried to incorporate some German Expressionism to make it look like it’s supposed to be minimalistic. Sometimes it works. The robots are actually very interesting. I liked the way they looked like they were put together from car parts. At almost an hour into the film, the best part is when a drunken Jim Ripple picks up his saxophone and plays for the robots. If you’ve never seen dancing robots, here’s your chance. It's the main reason I wanted to watch the movie.
The youtube version has really bad closed captioning and about a thousand commercials but it’s the only game in town. Unless you want the Spanish subtitle version on the Archives.