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East Side Story (1997)

A look at Communist musicals that strove to be ideologically correct - and entertaining, besides.


Dana Ranga
1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Margarita Andrushkovich Margarita Andrushkovich ... Herself (as Margarita Andruschkovitsch)
Chris Doerk Chris Doerk ... Herself
Erich Gusko Erich Gusko ... Himself
Helmut Hanke Helmut Hanke ... Himself
Barbara Harnisch Barbara Harnisch ... Party Girl
Brit Krüger Brit Krüger ... Party Girl
Andrea Schmidt Andrea Schmidt ... Party Girl
Karin Schröder Karin Schröder ... Herself
Frank Schöbel Frank Schöbel ... Himself
Maya Turovskaya Maya Turovskaya ... Herself (film historian)
Brigitte Ulbrich Brigitte Ulbrich ... Herself
Hans-Joachim Wallstein Hans-Joachim Wallstein ... Himself


"That's Entertainment!," Communist style. A documentary about movie musicals produced during the height of the old Soviet bloc. Comrades drive tractors, sweep factory floors, feed farm animals, harvest crops, all the while singing their hearts out about the joys of socialism. Included are interviews with people involved in the making of some of these movies, as well as a film historian and nostalgic moviegoers. Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

f rated | filmmaking | communism | See All (3) »


All Singing! All Dancing! All Marxist Musicals!


Documentary | Music




France | Germany

Release Date:

25 June 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Assim Dançou o Comunismo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Anda Film, Canal+, DocStar See more »
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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Narrator: These movies offered escape, hope and hit songs. They were part of another Socialist mythology, one that offered a positive view: Happiness and the good life.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits dedicate the film "to Karl Marx, without whom none of this would have been necessary." See more »


Features Nu vreau sa ma însor (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating view of Stalinist and Warsaw Pact musical comedy, showing that even in a repressive dictatorship, people still need to be entertained.
19 April 1999 | by sydheSee all my reviews

"East Side Story" is a documentary of musical comedy in Stalinist Russia and later in the eastern European satellite comedies, with many clips from the films and commentary from the survivors. Although some of the Stalinist films look laughingly bad (The Bright Road (?) being a notable exception), the films from the sixties actually look pretty good. "My Wife Wants to Sing," "The White Mouse," and "Midnight Revue" look particularly entertaining. The producers had to contend with the censors, who had the power to decide what was politically correct, which led to some confusion, humorous in retrospect, since the people whom the censors were trying to appease were the very people who supported making the films to begin with! Since musical comedies were fairly rare behind the Iron Curtain--there were only something like forty made in forty years--they had a disproportionate effect upon their audiences, who made major hits of some of the films.

I notice that the sound for the sixties films was much better. The directors often had to make do with antiquated equipment, and stringent power regulations--they had to film in seven minute takes or less--and dangerous officicrats.

I also notice that "West Side Story" seems to have had a strong influence on "Hot Summer." The later films may not measure up to "Singin' in the Rain," but they certainly look like they beat the hell out of "Bye Bye Birdy"

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