7.4/10
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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.

Director:

Steven M. Martin
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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>

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Taglines:

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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

24 August 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Лев Термен: Электронная одиссея See more »

Filming Locations:

Moscow, Russia See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$187,923
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1991, director Steven M. Martin traveled to Moscow, found Léon Theremin, and bought him back to the United States for the first time since 1938. See more »

Goofs

In the credits, the song "Someday My Prince Will Come", by Larry Morey and Frank Churchill, is listed as "Someday My Price Will Come". See more »

Quotes

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.
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Alternate Versions

The uncut version of the film contains a segment from The Mickey Mouse Club that is not available in any of the home-video releases because of rights issues. See more »

Connections

Features The Delicate Delinquent (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Kaddish
Written by Maurice Ravel
Performed by Clara Rockmore and Morey Ritt
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User Reviews

 
It makes you want to buy a theremin and start playing....
24 May 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I owe my watching this documentary to my strange daughter. Now I do not mean this in a bad way--I come from a family of strange people and the fact that she KNEW what a theremin was surprised me, as I sure didn't. Apparently a theremin is a magnificent electronic musical instrument created in the early part of the 20th century by Dr. Theremin--a genius who had immigrated to the US around the time of the Russian Revolution. This film, then, is about the instrument and its inventor--and it makes for a slow but very interesting story worth seeing even if you are not a musician. I am certainly not one, but I found myself marveling at the beautiful and other-worldly sound of this machine. In fact, we have all heard the theremin before--most often in sci-fi movies but even in other places such as the Beach Boys' song "Good Vibrations". And, speaking of this, seeing Brian Wilson interviewed was pretty bizarre, as he looked pretty good but the more he talked the more you realized that he still is quite mentally ill.

Anyway, there is MUCH more to the story in regards to Dr. Theremin--much more, but I don't want to say more because it would spoil this wonderful film. His life, put simply, is MUCH stranger than fiction! I give the documentary very high marks for all the effort it took to construct--with trips to Moscow, locating the Doctor, arranging for interviews, etc.. Clearly this was a labor of love and I appreciate this. The only reason i don't rate this even higher is that it is a bit dry in places and although it kept my interest, I have a much larger capacity than normal for this sort of thing...and the average person might just find their mind wandering. Still, it's fascinating and I strongly recommend you try it.


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