Surrounded by a few party officials, Alexei Ivanov, a stakhanovist smelter, is decorated by Stalin. The "Little Father of the Peoples" takes this opportunity to invoke threats of war.... ... See full summary »
Surrounded by a few party officials, Alexei Ivanov, a stakhanovist smelter, is decorated by Stalin. The "Little Father of the Peoples" takes this opportunity to invoke threats of war.... One day, war indeed breaks out. Bombs fall on the field where Alexei finds himself in the company of the schoolmistress Natacha, his fiancée. Alexei joins the Red Army and soon becomes a sergeant. Fighting rages and German troops advance. Natacha is arrested and deported. But the tide turns decisively with the German defeat at Stalingrad. Now the major offensive against Hitler can begin. Written by
Despite its propaganda intentions, a solid, popular, entertaining movie about World War II
Perhaps not the most sophisticated film ever made about World War II, but this 1949 Soviet film is a rousing, solid, popular piece of filmmaking. Reportedly made as a present for Stalin's 70th birthday, who took great interest in its production, it was made with considerable production values (for that time) and in great Agfacolor film, taken as war reparation from the Germans. It's a propaganda film alright, but is very well made. As far as I know this was also the first fiction film dealing with the fall of Berlin (though the film, despite its title, deals with all the war in the eastern front, starting from the German invasion of Russia and not just its ending). I'm sure its intended audience the Soviet masses who just have been through WW2, appreciated the movie. Hitler and his minions (who all speak in Russian in the film) are portrayed as grotesque, pathetic buffoons but this is not necessarily a bad thing since they are the comic relief of the movie. Also fun is the portrayal of Roosevelt and Churchill at the Yalta conference, the American president is shown as naive and slightly befuddled, the British premier a mean, conniving old man. Stalin, meanwhile, is portrayed through the film as a wise, gentle, all knowing commander leading his country into victory (never mind his well recorded nervous breakdown at the start of Operation Barbarossa). Summing up, despite some historical inaccuracies, this is a very good film, especially for those interested in World War II (note: in this review, I deal with both part I and part II, since the division of the movie in two halves is artificial).
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