Ivan Kouznetsoff, a Russian engineer, recounts during World War II his stay in England prior to the war working on a new propeller for ice-breaking ships. Naïve about British people and ... See full summary »
Ivan Kouznetsoff, a Russian engineer, recounts during World War II his stay in England prior to the war working on a new propeller for ice-breaking ships. Naïve about British people and convinced by hearsay that they are shallow and hypocritical, Ivan is both bemused and amused by them. He is blunt in his opinions about Britons and at first this puts off his hosts, including the lovely Ann Tisdall, whose grandfather runs the shipbuilding firm that will make use of Ivan's propeller. The longer Ivan stays, however, the more he comes to understand the humor, warmth, strength, and conviction of the British people, and the more they come to see him as a friend rather than merely a suspicious Russian. As a romantic bond grows between Ivan and Ann, a cultural bond begins to grow as well, particularly as the war begins and Russia is attacked by Germany. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Laurence Olivier is a Communist....at least in this film.
During WWII, the American and British film industry made quite a few films that attempted to rehabilitate the perceptions about the Russian people. That's because before the war, they were the enemy, but now that the three countries were allies, the government pushed film makers to portray the Russians in very glowing terms. In the States, films like THE NORTH STAR gave a sickeningly sweet view of the Russians that were just too good to be true. THE DEMI-PARADISE is a British film that also seeks to made the Russians seem more human--more like our friends.
It's interesting to see the famous actor Laurence Olivier playing Ivan Kouznetsoff--a Russian who talks to some British seamen during the war about his visit to London before the war. His accent seemed okay to me, but who am I to judge?! Anyways, the film is all told in flashback form. For the most part, Olivier's character is a bit standoffish and seems to think everything Russian is better--though this improves a bit through the course of the film. As for the Brits, they range from a few suspicious idiots to those who keep pointing out how "they are just like us". A father even wonders out loud about what a great husband Kouznetsoff would make. Talk about over-idealizing the Russians. As a result, the people in the film seem more like caricatures than real people. And as for Olivier, he seemed a bit silly--very stereotypical and broad in his portrayal.
Now despite me not loving this film and disliking how unreal everyone seemed, it was a good bit better than the WWII Hollywood films that were pro-Russia. They went even further to idealize Russia--to such a point that the films are downright dumb, as no group of people is THAT wonderful and happy and full of spunk! Overall, it's an interesting curio but certainly not a film you should run out to rent.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?