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Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (1993)

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A documentary about the inventor of the first electronic synthesiser instrument and his subsequent life after he was abducted by the KGB as well as a history of his instrument.


1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Leon Theremin ... Himself - Inventor of the Theremin
Clara Rockmore ... Herself - Theremin Virtuoso
Robert Moog ... Himself - Inventor of the Moog Synthesizer
Nicolas Slonimsky ... Himself - Composer and Historian
Paul Shure ... Himself - Musician
Henry Solomonoff ... Himself - Theremin Studio Member
Suki Bader ... Herself - Theremin Dancer
Beryl Campbell ... Herself - Theremin Dancer
Lydia Kavina ... Herself - Theremin's Great Niece
... Himself - Founder of The Beach Boys
Todd Rundgren ... Himself - Musician and Producer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
... Himself (archive footage) (as Lenin)


A documentary about the amazing life of Leon Theremin, inventor of the theremin, the electronic musical instrument so beloved of 50s sci-fi movie music. Theremin amazed America with his instrument until his kidnapping by Soviet agents in the mid-30s. Upon his release from a labor camp, he worked on surveillance devices for the KGB. Almost 60 years later , he is brought back to America for a touching reunion with his friends and colleagues. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Music He Created Was Strange. His Life Was Even Stranger.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief strong language | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

24 August 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Лев Термен: Электронная одиссея  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


In addition to being the inventor of the musical instrument that bears his name, Léon Theremin was also the inventor of the eavesdropping electronic-bugging device. See more »


In the documentary, Bob Moog makes a statement to the effect that Stradivarius designed the first violin. "Stradivarius" is not a person but refers to a musical instrument, usually a violin, made by Antonio Stradivari and his family. The violin existed as an instrument for more than a century before the birth of Antonio Stradivari in 1644. See more »


Brian Wilson - Founder of The Beach Boys: It sounded like one of those scary movies where - OOOH - a weird trip, you know. Weird facial expressions. Weird, you know. It's almost sexual.
See more »


Features The Delicate Delinquent (1957) See more »


This Room is My Castle of Quiet
Written by Harry Revel (uncredited)
Arranged and Conducted by Billy May (uncredited)
[Wrongly attributed to The Great Les Baxter as performer]
from the Capitol album "Music for Peace of Mind" (uncredited)
Courtesy Capitol Records
Bax Music
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User Reviews

why is everyone obsessing about Brian Wilson?
11 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

this is a very interesting & well done documentary about a very interesting man to say the least. his thoughts & inventions & his life were far-flung. sometimes it was the KGB that was flinging him around! this one can be filed under the "truth is stranger than fiction" section. there is a really interesting recent biography about Leon Theremin called, i think, "ether music & espionage". i read it about a year ago when it had been recently published & if you liked this documentary, you might be interested in all of the pain-staking detail in the book. the Martin doc. itself is almost perfect. the only thing i thought was really gratuitous here was Todd Rundgren (sp?) who was obviously just tacked-on for his name. the rest is all really fascinating. no filler. maybe it could have been cut very slightly tighter for those whose attention spans need a constant barrage. if you can find it, get the second edition of the VHS of this that includes the scene with Dr. Samuel Hoffman demonstrating the theremin on the mickey mouse club as a wide-eyed Bobby Burgess looks on. Clara Rockmore was obviously a force to be reckoned with! Robert Moog is astute & fascinating & humble, as usual. some of the "characters" here are REAL CHARACTERS, to say the least. but their inclusion in this film is, i think, appropriate to the subject matter. even Jerry Lewis. how come everyone's hung-up on this Brian Wilson thing? i watched this with a friend who is a college professor & is well versed in music & metaphysics and we both understood everything Mr. Wilson was trying to get across!

-bobby cormier (of the not famous HeatLamp electronic band)

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