The Gadfly, a novel written by Ethel Lillian Voyrich, was used to teach English to Russian students. Set in 19th Century Italy, it involves the illegitimate son of a cardinal who becomes the leader of the resistance movement against the occupying Austrian army. The hero resists both the Austrians and the Church (which has allied itself with the Austrians) until he is captured and executed. A tale of love, loyalty, betrayal and death, this popular potboiler had a deep effect on several generations of Russian teenagers. The Georgian film adaptation, a Sovkino production, was directed by Konstantin Mardzhanov and starred Natasha Vachnadze, Anatoly Imedashvili and I. Merabishvili. Moscow born Belsky was a set designer before he turned to creating film posters in the latter 1920s. His style often involved concentrating on a single character. Here, the angled photomontage of supporting characters reinforces the dramatic perspective from which we see the heros intense face and gesture.