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First shown in the US in two NYC theaters---Cameo and Continental--- in
April, 1938, with Russian dialogue and English titles.
This biography/tribute to Lenin only briefly hints of Leon Trotsky's "treachery" and brings Josef Stalin in for a build-up and was hailed as factual and historically accurate in the US trade-paper reviews of the time, a definition that may or may not hold true in retrospect.
Dirctor Mikhail Romm was also said to have provided the film with suspense...and sympathetic characterizations. The suspense part was the mark of a good director...the sympathetic characterizations may have been because the director had no other choice.
A sympathetic, human Lenin presents himself in this movie that has the feel of a Marx Brothers offering without the zaniness. Made a year before most of the characters would have been wiped out in the 1938 purge ending the lives of Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky, Stalin's malevolent presence is promoted. It was interesting to see a version of this released post Kruschev's deStalinisation speech where a huge soldier would be placed on screen to cover up the offending dictator and perverter of Lenin's mission. Today Lenin looks incongruous as he cracks jokes, hugs male revolutionaries and gets on his hands and knees on the floor plotting mayhem. Boris Shchukin looks uncannily like the Great Man, as does other characters such as a young rakish Stalin and Kerensky. www.tracesofevil.blogspot.com
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