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Miles of Fire (1957)
"Ognennye versty" (original title)

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Title: Miles of Fire (1957)

Miles of Fire (1957) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Credited cast:
Igor Savkin ...
Gregori Fedor Zavrigin
Margarita Volodina ...
Katerina "Katya" Gavrilovna
Vladimir Kenigson ...
Sergei Beklemichev, aka Viktor (as V. Kenigson)
Mikhail Troyanovsky ...
Dr. Shelako
Antoni Khodursky ...
Konstantin Romanovich Olinsky (as A. Khodursky)
Yevgeni Burenkov ...
Vereka, wagon driver (as Ye. Burenkov)
V. Stepanov ...
Proshka, boy wagon driver
S. Pryanishnikov ...
N. Kondratyev ...
Afonya, shell-shock victim
A. Osmolsky ...
Alyosha, boy cadet
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
I. Aleksandrov
Vyacheslav Chistyakov
N. Fadeyev
A. Karpov
V. Matisen


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Release Date:

9 November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Miles of Fire  »

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Miles ahead
20 November 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've read about "The Mile of Fire" as an incipient Soviet version of the United States' Western, heavily under its influence. This influence can be easily noted, but I think there are a few important differences that heavily bear on it. This is a film about the Russian Civil War, which took place only thirty-something years before the making of the film. It was well within the living memory of many of its audience members (and to someone known to all of its audience members), and it took place right at home. This gives it a historical relationship to its audience very different than the one that the much more distant US wild west shared with US audiences in the 1950s.

I think this tends to make the depiction here somehow more full- blooded and (though the film is unsurprisingly wholeheartedly behind the Reds) subtle than that of the US Westerns that were brought to bear. We have horses, a trip in a coach, and a climactic gunfight. But that gunfight is punctuated with the death of a beloved character who is left behind after passing out from fear; our heroine speculates that the whole landscape will soon be desolate if the war continues -- the fighting here is clearly not something purely to be glorified. And while we follow heroes, we don't always know who the heroes are, and until the last frames they are not presented with cartoon-like glory.

The film is very skillfully made; the direction keeps things in constant motion and builds genuine excitement punctuated with good thoughtful and humorous moments. Characters are built very strongly and with powerful, effective strokes; it's a mark of good characterization that we feel we know these people after a few illustrative moments with them. And the Romantic-influenced piano and orchestral soundtrack is fantastic.

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