Stalin inherited Goebbels's movie library after the war; he loved Chaplin and films such as In Old Chicago (1937) and It Happened One Night (1934). In the archives, I found a document requesting Tarzan the Ape Man (1932).
Westerns with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable were also favourites. Stalin the solitary, pitiless and Messianic egocentric seemed to associate himself with the lone cowboy riding shotgun into town to deal our brutal justice. Hence, he liked director John Ford's work - and John Wayne.
Khrushchev recalled how Stalin would ideologically criticise cowboy movies - and then order more. But, in spite of his enjoyment of the films, one source claimed that Stalin once declared at the end of a showing that Wayne, a vociferous anti-Communist, was a threat to the cause and should be assassinated.
Whether Stalin was speaking drunkenly in the early hours, or whether he meant what he said, such was his power that, either way, the order was quite likely to be executed. Assassins were supposedly sent to LA but failed to kill Wayne before Stalin's death. When Khrushchev met "Duke" in 1958, he told him "that was the decision of Stalin in his last mad years. I rescinded the order."
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