It’s that man again

As an alternative heading we could have chosen “The Man Who Won the War” or to give the film its real title “The Fall Of Berlin.” A local paper advertising the film writes, “ he most stupendous and sensation packed film ever screened.” “A Russian film with English sub-titles.” “Eighty cameramen lost their lives to get these pictures. Come and see what life is like behind the Iron Curtain. Come and see a faithful representation of Mr. Joseph Stalin. Come and see the miserable end of the once great Adolf Hitler and his Bride of a few hours, Eva Braun. Superbly photographed in a new process—Agfa Colour. You’ve never seen anything so terrific and magnificent before.”

If this lot doesn’t make you vomit, then you are no socialist. The film is prefaced by a statement pointing out that the freedom of speech which we enjoy enables us to show such a film in England. Evidently the authorities seem to have some doubts that in Russia considerable hesitancy would arise before a similar American or English film could be shown there.

The technique of production is excellent, the colouring and also the filming, which all shows that Russia has been an able pupil of America in this respect, but the general theme is indeed more childish than most American films, and even they can stoop precious low when required.

If you have any doubts who won the war, then see this film, and it will prove beyond dispute that Generalissimo Joseph Vissarionovitch Stalin was the man! The story opens with a metal worker who broke the world’s record for smelting iron. As a result he was sent for by no less a person than Stalin himself. The great man (Stalin we are now referring to and not the iron worker), was digging his garden when the record breaker was led to him by one of his commissars. When the worker saw the “Fuehrer of all Russia ” he was so frightened with embarrassment that he tried to run away; but the masterly way and comradely manner in which Stalin shook hands with the simple iron worker, soon put the latter at ease in a way no other human individual could do it.

Then they adjourned for a meal, and round the table was Molotov, Voroshilov, Kalinin, Beria (although it was not stated that he was chief of the G.P.U., now called the N.K.V.D.). The worker then told these “bosses” how he was determined to work even harder and smash further records—and he showed surprise that this met with their approval.

Things then shifted to personal matters as if to display Stalin’s greatness in his supreme simplicity, and our iron puddler told Stalin that he intended to get married. The great Stalin did not hesitate to give him some fatherly and friendly advice, as if to demonstrate his authority in this field.

Then the war clouds broke, and after the usual array of flashes, smoke, bangs and blood intended to portray war in all its savagery, our hero loses his comrades one by one until practically he alone is left to hoist the red flag over the Reichstag. He had fought all the way from Stalingrad to Berlin and was fighting his way through the Reichstag when one of his colleagues fell wounded in the chest. Another comrade picked him up and put his hand into his tunic pulling out a handkerchief soaked in blood. The latter with the handkerchief in his outstretched hand was himself a few moments later shot dead, but in his hand continued to hold the bloodstained handkerchief outstretched like a God-given signal and in such a melodramatic way which could occur nowhere but on the films. Please rise and sing :—

“We’ll raise the scarlet banner high !
Beneath this flag we’ll live or die !
Tho’ cowards jeer, and traitors sneer 1
We’ll keep the red flag flying here ! !”

Hitler and his gang, Goering, Goebells, Jodi, Keitel, Rundstedt, etc., are clearly portrayed, although it is a little strange to English ears to hear them all speaking in Russian with occasional “Mein Herr’s.” These guys produce some laughs from the audience from those who could not have laughed at the Great Stalin nonsense. Churchill and Roosevelt are depicted around the table at Yalta, but are so outshone by Stalin’s splendour and greatness, and the depth of his remarks, that one scarcely notices them. England only gets one mention in the film, and America is of course played down, not as an ally, but as a power with which the Germans were trying to co-operate, and who were leaving all the fighting for the Russians to do. Towards the end the orders for the German army are to take no notice of the Americans coming in the back door, but to keep the Russians out at all costs!

Then comes the splendid climax which all “stupendous” films must have. Victory is achieved by Stalin (assisted to a small degree by the Red army). They celebrate in Berlin; releasing the Russian prisoners, dance, sing and shout (although nobody has a drink). One would think with all the excitement and shouting that somebody would get thirsty. But still film producers can miss things, or is it that the Russians don’t drink ?

Then what do you think happens ? Yes, it does, and right in the centre of Berlin on the day of victory. Our hero meets his girl friend who was carried off by the Nazis and had just been released so that they can by accident bump into one another again. And then what do you think happens next, you could never guess. Yes, sure enough the Great Generalissimo Joseph Vissarionovitch Stalin himself swoops down from the sky like an angel, but in an aeroplane, and gets out in the middle of the celebrating crowds. They surround him in a large and orderly circle without having to be kept back by police or soldiers. They carried many large photos of him about 20ft square (Gaud knows how they got them there so quickly)—and boy do they give him a greeting for winning the war for them.

Now comes the final climax which brings tears to your eyes or loosens your bowels according to your diathesis. The hero and his girl friend are seen by the benevolent eyes of Stalin, and Stalin remembers him after all those years. The girl runs forward apparently recognizing the great man, and wants to hug him—yes, a simple school teacher actually embraces a being who has come as near to a God as is possible. It all reminds us of the words of Jesus, “suffer little children to come unto me.” Well what else do you expect when a modern capitalist state goes all out for the Great Man idea. Had Hitler won and Moscow fallen, practically everything in the film could have been retained, but of course reversed. Oh pot, why do you keep calling the kettle black ?


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