Video of the Day: Russian Prison Tattoos

In Russian prisons, inmates wear their criminal records on their skin. What did they do? What do their tats mean? This doc provides the coding key…

Much of this information and background was used to great effect in the now classic Russian mob film Eastern Promises with Vigo Mortenson, a special favorite of Noir Nation, even if it has the so called lapel moment, associated with films that want to keep one hand in the light, as the other hand explores the darkness.

(NB: Those familiar with the making of Double Indemnity will remember the term being used by George Raft, who considered playing the villain and asked about when the lapel moment would occur, the moment when the villain turns his lapel to show a police badge, showing he had been a good guy from the start. When told there was no such moment, Raft turned down the role.)


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