The series, based on a popular novel of the same name, depicts the exploits of a Russian spy Isaev, working undercover as Standartenfuhrer Stierlitz, in Nazi Germany during 17 days in very ... See full summary »
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Eight-hour epic based on the book of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. Two main story-lines are complex and intertwined. One is the love story of young Countess Natasha Rostova and Count Pierre... See full summary »
Old Prof. Preobrazhensky and his young colleague Dr. Bormental inserted the human's hypophysis into a dog's brain. Couple of weeks later the dog became "human looking". The main question is... See full summary »
The hero of the film is an insurance agent who is also a car thief. He steals cars only from various crooks and never from the good people. Then he sells those stolen cars and gives all the... See full summary »
In July 1942, in the Second World War, the rearguard of the Red army protects the bridgehead of the Don River against the German army while the retreating soviet troops cross the bridge. ... See full summary »
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The series, based on a popular novel of the same name, depicts the exploits of a Russian spy Isaev, working undercover as Standartenfuhrer Stierlitz, in Nazi Germany during 17 days in very end of WWII. Stierlitz has worked his way to the very top of the RSHA, main Nazi security and intelligence agency, without being caught. However, his "colleagues", top Hitler's officers Bormann, Mueller, Schellenberg are beginning to suspect him. Stierlitz is constantly walking on the edge between his two identities, sending information to Russia, while skillfully maintaining the appearance of loyalty to Nazi regime. Written by
It was hard for the crew to work with Vyacheslav Tikhonov. He had the highest wages possible for a Soviet actor, 50 rubles a day; as he was also paid for rehearsals, his salary made 75 rubles a day. The filmmakers did not fail to pay him but he thought he was not receiving the complete wages and would sit on the set with a pen and paper, calculating. Tatyana Lioznova, who worked with him a lot, had long conversations with him and kept making sure he was in a good mood, was the only one from the crew who managed to find a common language with him. See more »
[dictating a letter to Vatican to a cleric scribe]
... And Pastor Schlag or his angelic image...
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One of the little-recognized deficiencies of spy movies is that 'action'--chases, shootings, explosions, etc.--is dominant content. Of course, the trend caters to modern audiences that are addicted to sound and special effects. However, action-driven spy movies (e.g., James Bond) suffer from 3 major defects: 1)They are not believable 2)They contain little or no acting performances to speak of 3)As such, they are easily forgettable. This is not the case with "17 moments of spring" (hereafter SMOS)
The 12 episodes of the series have been specifically shot in Black and White, in fairly simple studio sets, with no special visual effects. What makes SMOS the favorite of audiences, is a gamut of absolutely incredible acting. Each role, even a minor one, casts an "all-star" Soviet actor, and they deliver deep psychological performances. Tikhonov is an obvious star as Stierlitz, but consider Leonid Bronevoy as Mueller, the friendly, always suspicious and incredibly cruel inside Gestapo chief. Or Oleg Tabakov, as cheerful Schellenberg of the German intelligence. Or Plyatt as very vulnerable and very human Pastor Schlag who nevertheless embodies the power of the Church.
So essentially SMOS is not a spy movie, but a tight psychological drama. But we must not forget the subject, and it is an important one, based on a major real life event: in early 1945, trying to finish off the Nazi Germany, the Russians found out that SS-gruppenfuehrer Karl Wolff (essentially a representative of the odious Himmler) attempted to negotiate a separate piece with the Americans in Italy. The talks were top-secret (OSS star Allen Dulles was the US negotiator) and essentially meant a betrayal of Russia by its anti-Nazi allies. SMOS is about how the Russians discovered the secret and forced the end to negotiations.
In short, this is one of the greatest all-time spy thrillers. Just as "Rosemary's Baby" is arguably the best horror movie because of its acting and directing, so does SMOS shine through the mediocrity we are fed today. I wish it were shown to the wide Western audiences, so that they can see for themselves!
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