Three woman aviators -- we would have said, say, once upon a times, 'aviatrices' -- are doing a test run of a new aircraft from Moscow to Vladivostok. They crash the plane about halfway out and this makes them heroines. I would say that this makes them bad pilots and do a movie about the Russian equivalent of the Civilian Air Patrol.... maybe, like Wellman's 1953 ISLAND IN THE SKY split it halfway as a heroic rescue and a heroic tale of the survival of these fools in the taiga. No. These are the Russian role models. I'd prefer some competence, please.
What is most astonishingly awful about this movie is the constant idolization of Joseph Stalin in a cult of personality as great as Hitler's in Germany. The women report that at the beginning of their flight, they thought about him -- maybe they should have been watching their instrument boards -- and he approved and supervised every step of their rescue, apparently. There is a constantly repeated patriotic march in this movie, and it refers twice to the vast sky and Stalin's sun, as someone might refer to God's good green earth.
The director, Dziga Vertov, a great talent of the Russian film industry was way out of favor at the moment, about like Eisenstein, and would remain so until he was needed to rouse the troops. This fawning effort is astonishingly bad and makes one appreciating the self-effacing nature of Harry Cohn at Columbia.
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