It's a standard wartime flag-waver intended to rally the nation, but this time it's not American, it's not British, it's not even Japanese -- one of Kurosawa's earliest movies, "The Most Beautiful" was about the need for girls on the production lines. It's Russian and it's about the insurgent troops behind German lines, led by the wily District secretary. The Russians are braver, the Germans are slimier and we get to see people fire guns and others crumple in the same shot -- even if half the time there's no visual indication the gun has fired. It's much more visceral than English language productions of the era, but pretty much of a piece with them. The lead actor, Vasili Vanin, is no matinée idol, but does an excellent job portraying intelligence and sliding effortlessly between drama and comedy.
Visually it's certainly competent. The battle scene about twenty minutes in looks like it was modeled on the trench warfare scenes in "All's Quiet on the Western Front" -- if they didn't simply cut in the sequence.
All in all, it's a pretty good programmer and if you need some emotional access to Russian films in this period, it's easier to go from, say "American Commando in the Phillipines" to this than some other routes.
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