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Credited cast:
Max Eastman ...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alexander Kerensky ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Tsar Nicholas II ...
Himself (archive footage)


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Release Date:

6 March 1937 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Archival footage displaying a most basic account
17 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The footage is what makes this notable: from the Tsar and Tsarevich living pampered and carefree lives to Red Army soldiers defiantly laughing in their last moments, about to be executed by the counterrevolutionaries. The forces of reaction are shown to be oblivious to the strength and demands of the popular masses, while the Bolsheviks are the ones who turned these demands into a new social order worth defending from said reactionaries' efforts to either turn back time or stop the clock.

Max Eastman narrates with some competence and a bit of humor in two or three odd scenes. Being a Trotskyist at the time, he had a rather obvious political goal: to "restore" Trotsky's place in the events of 1917 and the Civil War as Lenin's second-in-command. Assistant Bolsheviks such as Kamenev, Zinoviev, Radek, Bukharin and others also appear which in the context of the film's release in 1937 must have had a sizable propaganda impact on viewers, since these men were either executed a year earlier or on the chopping block. Stalin is mentioned for about three seconds near the end in a matter-of-fact "the story after Lenin is the story of Stalin."

By modern standards this would be considered a soft propaganda piece for the Bolsheviks. Writing as someone with a chronic inability to appreciate art, it's an interesting work, certainly for those with an interest in the subject.

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