Long live our Soviet Motherland, built by the people's mighty hand.
May 14, 2007 9:48 AM   Subscribe

The Soviet Army fights its way into Berlin and then, in a Very Special Episode, Uncle Joe drops in for a visit.

warnings: YouTube; violence followed by extreme melodrama
posted by Mayor Curley (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Can anyone explain to me the color in the second film? It looks like it was colored later, or is it just color reversal film? Makes it look almost like an old postcard.
posted by billysumday at 9:57 AM on May 14, 2007


Banners that say slava velikomu stalinu? How did that man not drop dead of of of...shame's not quite the word I want here but Stalin was in no danger from it by then, anyway.

He looks embalmed. Or animated. But then, who'd want to take a chance and be the filmmaker who showed a big wart on Stalin's nose?
posted by dilettante at 9:59 AM on May 14, 2007


I read somewhere that Stalin never actually left Russia physically while he was in power, because of his great fear of a coup.

I also read that he accused a bodyguard of plotting assassination because said bodyguard was caught wearing slippers one evening at the Kremlin instead of the heavy boots that he was supposed to wear.
posted by parmanparman at 10:04 AM on May 14, 2007


oh man...and the couple on the second film even walks away from Stalin backwards.

From Edvard Radzinsky's biography of Stalin, describing Stalin visiting his mother:

'As their meeting ended she asked him, "Joseph, what exactly are you now?" And he answered, "Do you remember the tsar? Well, I'm something like the tsar." '

Mortification, that was the word I wanted.
posted by dilettante at 10:09 AM on May 14, 2007


You know who (possibly) wasn't worse than Stalin?
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on May 14, 2007


You know who (possibly) wasn't worse than Stalin?

Lloyd Bridges
posted by parmanparman at 10:26 AM on May 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Watching those makes comparison of the current U.S. situation with that and similar totalitarian regimes seem awfully silly. Except that Stalin did have a big "Mission Accomplished" banner, right?
posted by The World Famous at 10:34 AM on May 14, 2007


Except that Stalin did have a big "Mission Accomplished" banner, right?

Stalin actually DID accomplish the mission.
posted by tkchrist at 10:38 AM on May 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interesting. Odd historical note: the version of Soviet National anthem that plays in the first film was the post 1953 version, that is, the one introduced after Stalin died. Sometime in the 1930s I believe a line in the third verse was changed to "party of Lenin, party of Stalin." In 1953, the Party changed it back to "party of Lenin, power of the people" (partiia Lenina, sila narodnaia)--the original language (I think).

All said and done, we should be grateful to the Soviets for defeating the Nazis. They did most of the job, and paid dearly for it. (BTW, the actual fall of Berlin was May 9th, right?)
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:38 AM on May 14, 2007


Stalin actually DID accomplish the mission.

Give Bush a few million more U.S. casualties in Iraq and he'll have the same success rate as Stalin.
posted by The World Famous at 10:41 AM on May 14, 2007


Iraqi casualties are, of course, not counted.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on May 14, 2007


Man, those Russian Army Choirs can sing their asses off.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:48 AM on May 14, 2007


Iraqi casualties are, of course, not counted.

Not when you're comparing Bush's U.S. casualties to Stalin's Soviet casualties in WWII, no.
posted by The World Famous at 10:50 AM on May 14, 2007


Wasn't it just a few years ago we realized that the Russians helped us win WW II?
posted by PHINC at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2007


I read somewhere that Stalin never actually left Russia physically while he was in power, because of his great fear of a coup.

*cough*

Also, Stalin did visit Berlin.

The thing is, Stalin hagiography aside, it probably did feel like that to a lot of Soviets. Meanwhile, speaking of wartime propaganda films featuring Stalin ....
posted by dhartung at 10:53 AM on May 14, 2007


And is it me or does Uncle Joe looks seriously Botox-ed.

Rubberface
posted by gottabefunky at 10:54 AM on May 14, 2007


Watching those makes comparison of the current U.S. situation with that and similar totalitarian regimes seem awfully silly.

Oh man, I was going to write a snarky comment about when it would still be too early to complain about totalitarianism in America, but the only examples I could think of is American citizens being spied on, tortured and sent to gulags. TOO LATE
posted by DU at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2007


Not when you're comparing Bush's U.S. casualties to Stalin's Soviet casualties in WWII, no.

Or any other context really.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on May 14, 2007


Artw, I think I know what point you're trying to make, and I agree with it, but I don't understand why you're trying so hard to make it in this context.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on May 14, 2007


The introductory plane flight in the second video is so similar to the beginning of Triumph of the Will that I wonder if it isn't intentional, a way of rubbing the Germans' noses in their defeat.
posted by gsteff at 11:41 AM on May 14, 2007


And is it me or does Uncle Joe looks seriously Botox-ed.

That wasn't actually Stalin, but traditional Stalin stand-in Mikheil Gelovani.
posted by dhartung at 11:48 AM on May 14, 2007


This is at least half-double, and that thread has some really interesting notes on the "Stalin visits Berlin" video, etc. I don't know if this post will stay (since it's half-new), but if it stays, there's some interesting stuff brought up by that first post that people here might like.

Thanks for the new link though! It's really awesome.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:23 PM on May 14, 2007


'In the same vein, let us take, for instance, our historical and military films and some literary creations; they make us feel sick. Their true objective is the propagation of the theme of praising Stalin as a military genius. Let us recall the film, The Fall of Berlin. Here only Stalin acts; he issues orders in the hall in which there are many empty chairs and only one man approached him and reports something to him -- that is Poskrebyshev, his loyal shield-bearer. '

(Laughter in the hall.)

'And where is the military command? Where is the Political Bureau? Where is the Government? What are they doing and with what are they engaged? There is nothing about them in the film. Stalin acts for everybody, he does not reckon with anyone; he asks no one for advice. Everything is shown to the nation in this false light. Why? In order to surround Stalin with glory, contrary to the facts and contrary to historical truth. '


- Nikita S. Khrushchev, 1956.
posted by plep at 12:33 PM on May 14, 2007


Wasn't it just a few years ago we realized that the Russians helped us win WW II?

Too bad most people haven't yet realized that in reality, we helped them win it.
posted by watsondog at 1:19 PM on May 14, 2007


> still, if we're exhuming old Uncle Joe's corpse for a little fearmongering, I have a better story, and the bonus
> is it's true -- in Potsdam Churchill shakes Stalin's hand and says, "You entered Berlin, congratulations". Stalin,
> quite glumly, answers: "Yes, but Alexander I entered Paris"
> posted by matteo at 1:18 PM on October 22

posted by jfuller at 1:35 PM on May 14, 2007


watsondog: The (Western) Allies helped the Soviets defeat the Germans, but IIRC they weren't much use to us in the Pacific -- that was mostly an American show.
posted by pax digita at 4:19 PM on May 14, 2007


I thought about flagging both clips an inappropriate, but then I thought about it. What is a more appropriate backdrop for that horrible anthem than mass destruction and murder? ;-)

The second was much more entertaining. The thought of Stalin walking out in front of hundreds of armed men, many of them foreigners was precious. Not only did he never leave the Soviet Union, I am certain he never allowed himself to be embraced by a crowd. Kudos for the great Georgian accent.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:32 PM on May 14, 2007


Was that picture taken in Yalta?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:33 PM on May 14, 2007


gesamtkunstwerk, if you want to get technical, both Potsdam and Teheran were within Soviet-occupied territory. The only other summits that Stalin attended were held in Yalta and Moscow. But he definitely "left the Soviet Union", or Russia, at least those two times.
posted by dhartung at 4:45 PM on May 14, 2007


My apologies. I posted before I thought.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:22 PM on May 14, 2007


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