In June 1941, famed American symphony conductor John Meredith (Robert Taylor) is touring Soviet Russia with his manager Hank (Robert Benchley) when they go to a small rural town where famed...
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In June 1941, famed American symphony conductor John Meredith (Robert Taylor) is touring Soviet Russia with his manager Hank (Robert Benchley) when they go to a small rural town where famed Russian composer Tchaikovsky was born. John meets Nadya (Susan Peters), a sweet peasant girl with an ear for classical music and they soon get married. When war breaks out, John want to flee back to the USA, but Nadya wants to stay and fight the invading Germans who are closing in on the village. Written by
Although the film is set during the German invasion of Russia in 1941, uniforms and equipment shown in both the stock footage and the American-filmed scenes are largely from the period of 1943-44, when the film was made. Of particular note are the helmets and rank insignia which are indicative of this later era. See more »
"Song of Russia" is far from a great film, but it is really fascinating to look at nowadays, both as a historical time capsule and as an excellent specimen of MGM camp. The film was designed to drum up sympathy for our then-allies, the Soviet Union, and is sheer, unabashed propaganda. It is well-enough made, but, meaning no disrespect to the millions of Russians who suffered and died during the war, it is so cornball and manipulative seen now that its difficult to take seriously. In fact, its most famous now for the after-effects of its release at the end of the 40's in the HUAC meetings where Robert Taylor testified and "named names" and where it caused all sorts of problems for its makers. Robert Taylor rises to his usual heights of bland adequacy here, but Susan Peters, a tragic actress if ever there was one, does quite well as his Russian bride.
Some of the more hilarious scenes include a wedding dance where the entire village takes part and come across more like a Broadway troupe with decades of experience and the depiction of the "typical" Russian village,which looks like a Slavic version of Andy Hardy's small town. Miss Peters character is also quite the Russian Superwoman - a concert pianist who can cook a mean dinner when she's not riding tractors, shooting machine guns and teaching a class of schoolchildren how to make a Molotov Cocktail. Its amazing she was able to be convincing in the slightest degree in this role, but she does as well as anyone could.
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