Please note: I had the time of this wrong. It is 11:30 a.m. not 1:30 a.m.
Song of Russia, 1943, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday March 31 at 11:30 a.m. est. Closed captioned.
Song of Russia is rarely shown. It was very controversial and figured in the 1947 HUAC hearings. Robert Taylor strongly resisted making the film but had to give in eventually. The Soviet ambassador to the U.S., among others, wanted the film made.
Song of Russia was never made to accurately portray Soviet peasantry, but rather to enlighten the West of the Anti-Nazi plight of the Russian citizens.Director Gregory Ratoff is no more guilty of tainting the truth for entertainment’s sake than were many American directors for their careless, racist portrayal of the “savage” American Indian.
Stalin and Hitler were both maniacal murderers, but in 1943 much less was known of the atrocities these two leaders committed. If Western leaders had known better in 1943, greater efforts should have been made to stop the bloodshed. 20/20 hindsight gives us great power to criticize filmmakers of that period, but what of Roosevelt and Churchill? What did they know, and what did they do about it?
Song of Russia was a warning and a call for help.Although Russian peasants weren’t as “Americanized” as the film portrays, they did defend their land against the fascists and lost over 20 million people doing it.I enjoyed the film, and yes, I thought the peasants looked a bit well-to-do for the period, but that helped me imagine what we as Americans might have confronted if the Nazis had made it past England and Russia. Review by SirIvanhoe from New York for the IMDb.
Some behind the scenes photos:
Left to right: Robert Taylor phoning from “Russia”; with a young cast member; shooting with Susan Peters; playing ball.