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.... ...
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A Russian Prince experiences battle against Napoleon and a troubled relationship with his father and wife. Finds acceptance of her death and eventually his chance of true love. A spoiled, ... 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
Russian soldier battles his way to Berlin to reunite with his beloved
This is a difficult movie to evaluate, given the circumstances under which it was made. In 1950 in a USSR tightly controlled by the Communist Party headed by Josep Stalin, what movie about the war against the Nazis would not have been filled with propaganda and have extolled Stalin? Propaganda interferes with the art of any movie, no matter what its national origin. Propaganda prevents a movie from ringing true. "The Fall of Berlin" is permeated with propaganda. The love between the two leads is admirably acted and has some emotional content. Nevertheless, it's so intertwined with phony scenes of joy at the steel mill and in the fields before the Nazis attack, that it all seems more a relic of its times than anything else. Yet, the color photography is beautiful. The staging is good. As a propaganda display of group spirit and love of one's rulers, it is a valuable historical document.
Where the movie-making really gets good is in some of the battle scenes. These involve many tanks and rather real looking battlefields. The actual hand-to-hand fighting, however, is often staged quite badly. The recreation of the Reichstag is very good indeed.
Then there is the portrayal of Stalin and Hitler. These are fun to see. The actor playing Stalin looks very much like him. That's about the only resemblance to the truth of his character we are getting in this movie. War movies produced in Hollywood often were almost as untruthful. Stalin is shown as a democrat, a man of the people, out among his people, friendly, a brilliant general, loved and revered by his people, etc. In reality, he closeted himself in the Kremlin, had no feeling for people, killed and tortured millions, was cynical, paranoid and cruel.
As for Hitler, his famous outbursts and loss of touch with reality are shown here in spades. It almost becomes comical.
I rate the movie as average, but it really cannot be rated conventionally. It's a spectacle, more often badly done than well done, but sometimes effective in the battle scenes or in the scenes showing the Nazis or a lovable Stalin. It's something for sociological study. It's part of the cult of Stalin that Khrushchev condemned at the earliest opportunity after Stalin's death in 1953, only three years after this movie was made.
It's quite obvious that the lead actor, Boris Andreyev, was a professional. He was quite famous in Russia, made many movies and had a long career, before and after this movie.
Mikheil Gelovani, who played Stalin, was so well-liked in that role by Stalin that he became typecast thereafter. He made 12 movies as Stalin. Since Stalin was a "living God", he could not play other roles without damaging Stalin's image. After Khrushchev's speech in 1956 that criticized the cult of Stalin, all the films in which Gelovani had played Stalin were banned or had Stalin's scenes cut out.
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