While hosting a game of cards one night, Narumov tells his friends a story about his grandmother, a Countess. As a young woman, she had once incurred an enormous gambling debt, which she ... See full summary »
Vstrechnyy, usually interpreted as Counterplan, also known by the alternative titles Passer-by, Encounter and Turbine No. 50,000 was made for the Leningrad Rosfilm studio and co-directed by Fridrikh Ermler and Sergei Yutkevich.
The plot concerns the foiling of an attempt by 'wreckers' to sabotage the Leningrad turbine factory in which they work, though on the evidence of this film, there is more talking, vodka consumption and meetings than actual work taking place.
Interest today will mainly lie in the music score to the film, composed by Dmitri Shostakovich, his fourth effort in the genre and following on from New Babylon, Alone and The Golden Mountains, this last also directed by Ermler and Yutkevich and also co-starring Boris Tenin.
Two songs were especially composed, 'Song of the Meeting initially played over the film's opening credits and 'How Long will my Heart Ache'. 'Song of the Meeting' proved enormously popular, equally so in the West as well as the Soviet Union and it was later arranged as 'United Nations on the March' with new words by Harold Rome and climaxed the Hollywood film 'Thousands Cheer' (MGM, 1943).
Shostakovich recycled the tune in a number subsequent compositions, including the films Michurin (1949) and Moscow, Cheryomushki (1962). 'Song of the Meeting' has been recorded (Delos DE 3313, Mikhail Lukonin, baritone and Yuri Serov, piano - 2004) also the three known orchestral excerpts (Russian Disc RD CD 10 018, Byelorussian Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra conducted by Walter Mnatsakanov - 1997).
For a more detailed discussion on this and other films with music by Shostakovich, see Dmitri Shostakovich: A Life in Film, written by John Riley and published by I. B. Tauris, London and New York in the series Kinofiles Film Companion, 2004.
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