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The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

Letyat zhuravli (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 21 March 1960 (USA)
Veronica plans a rendezvous with her lover, Boris, at the bank of river, only for him to be drafted into World War II shortly thereafter.

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(play), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Veronika (as T. Samoylova)
...
Boris (as A. Batalov)
Vasiliy Merkurev ...
Fyodor Ivanovich (as V. Merkuryev)
Aleksandr Shvorin ...
Mark (as A. Shvorin)
Svetlana Kharitonova ...
Irina (as S. Kharitonova)
Konstantin Kadochnikov ...
Volodya (as K. Nikitin)
...
Stepan (as V. Zubkov)
Antonina Bogdanova ...
Babushka (as A. Bogdanova)
...
Chernov (as B. Kokovkin)
Ekaterina Kupriyanova ...
Anna Mikhajlovna (as Ye. Kupriyanova)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Valentina Ananina ...
(as V. Ananina)
Olga Dzisko ...
(as O. Dzisko)
Klarina Frolova-Vorontsova ...
(as K. Frolova)
Leonid Knyazev ...
(as L. Knyazev)
Georgiy Kulikov ...
(as Yu. Kulikov)
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Storyline

Veronica and Boris are walking in the streets of Moscow and they love each other. Veronica is laughing, cause they are happy together this morning. They see some cranes in the sky. When arriving to Veronica's house they talk about a rendezvous at the bank of the river. And the 2nd World War begins in Moscow. Boris works in a factory and he hasn't got time to speak with Veronica. He has to go to the war ... Written by Kornel Osvart <kornelo@alphanet.hu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A drama of young love - passion, devotion and betrayal. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

21 March 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cranes Are Flying  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only Russian film to win the Cannes Film Festival's Golden Palm for Best Picure as of December 2013. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Boris: Wait, squirrel! Here. Put it on.
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User Reviews

 
THE CRANES ARE FLYING (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957) ***1/2
7 October 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I had long wanted to watch this romantic drama (with a WWII setting) and, now that I have, all I can say is that it's a veritable masterpiece of Russian cinema!

Soviet films are known for their overzealous propagandist approach but, thankfully, this one's free of such emphasis - with the interest firmly on the central tragic romance between a promising artist and a vivacious girl, doomed by the outbreak of war for which he gladly volunteers but from which he'll never return. The girl (a remarkable performance from Tatyana Samojlova) is also loved by the young man's cousin and, when she doesn't receive word from her boyfriend, gives in to the latter and marries him. He, however, is an aspiring concert pianist bitter about the war having curtailed his chances for success and, knowing too that the girl's still devoted to the soldier, begins to neglect her. Finally, word reaches the girl of her loved one's death but, by the end of the film, she has learnt to accept this as a sacrifice to their native country and is content to live with her memories of him.

The film features some truly amazing camera-work which makes extremely judicious use of the screen space and, by frequently adopting tracking, tilted and high or low angle shots, renders great power to the unfolding emotional drama. Individual sequences are equally impressive

  • two in particular: the stunning scene, frenetically edited and
sped-up to boot, in which the girl saves an abandoned boy from being trampled by a truck; and the young man's premature demise in an unfortunate incident at the front, undoubtedly one of the best of its kind I've ever watched (with the sun moving away from him, symbolizing the life that's seeping out of his body, as he imagines the wedding day he'll never have!). Also notable, however, is the scene where the girl goes to look for her parents in her home that's been hopelessly devastated during an air raid; as is her final violent capitulation to the concert pianist - which she tries to resist by repeatedly slapping him in the face - taking place during a later air raid and making particularly effective use of a set of billowing curtains!

Disappointingly, the R1 DVD of this outstanding film is a bare-bones affair (the RusCiCo edition features a few supplements but, being an export, tends to be heavily overpriced and hard to track down to boot!); Criterion released it in conjunction with another war-themed Russian classic, BALLAD OF A SOLDIER (1959) - which my pal at the local DVD rental outlet has told me is forthcoming...

The only other film I've watched from this director is the Arctic epic THE RED TENT (1969; albeit via the much-shorter U.S.-release version!), a star-studded international production based on true events; given the unmistakable artistic quality of THE CRANES ARE FLYING, I regret missing out now on his famous documentary I AM CUBA (1964) a number of times when I was in Hollywood late last year: apart from receiving a one-week theatrical run, it was shown more than once on TV accompanied by a feature-length "Making Of"!!


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