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11 DVD SET: 14 SOVIET FILMS ABOUT THE SECOND WORLD WAR * with switchable English subtitles *

Ballad of a Soldier; Destiny of a Man; Dark is the Night; Dawns Here are Quiet; Der grosse Vaterländische Krieg; Father of a Soldier; Enthusiasm: Donbass Symphony; Hot Snow; Hut Two Went the Soldiers; Bezhin Lug; Only Old Men are going to Battle; The Fall of Berlin; They fought for their Motherland; Trial on the Road
Alter Preis: $125.99
Preis: $99.99

NOTE:  If ordered in plastic cases, these films will be sent in two containers holding six discs each to save on postage costs.  Individual film covers will not be available.

11-DVD set of the following Soviet films about the Second World War sold at a discounted price  (and don't forget that you get at least a 10% discount with the purchase of this set alone based on its cost!):

BALLAD OF A SOLDIER (1959) + DESTINY OF A MAN (1959) *with switchable English subtitles *

BALLAD OF A SOLDIER:  not primarily a war film, the movie recounts, within the context of the turmoil of war, various kinds of love: the romantic love of a young couple, the committed love of a married couple, and a mother's love of her child. The film tells the story of the young soldier Alyosha Skvortsov making his way through the countryside during a time when the Soviet Union seemed destined to fall to the powerful Nazi onslaught. Awarded a six-day leave pass for destroying two tanks, Alyosha makes his way home to visit his mother and to repair the roof of her home. During his journey he encounters the devastation the war has brought on the country and meets a variety of people,giving them hope by virtue of his likable and positive character. Riding in a freight train, he meets Shura and falls in love with her. Finally, he makes it home to his mother; but the reunion is bittersweet.

(88 mins.; excellent quality.  Russian film with English subtitles).



DESTINY OF A MAN:  Made in the same year as "Ballad of a Soldier", this film concerns the fate of a Ukrainian man from the 1920s, when his whole family starved during the Civil War; through his capture and imprisonment in the Great Patriotic War by the Germans in a prisoner of war camp; while in a Nazi concentration camp and his life at War's end.  Discussing in open details subjects usually spurned or covered up by Soviet censors  (the betrayal of Communist and Jews by fellow prisoners; the singling out and extermination of prisoners of Jewish extraction --- usually referred to simply as "Soviet citizens" --- the mistreatment of Soviet prisoners by the Germans; etc.) this is both an entertaining and very informative film very rarely seen these days.  
(94 mins.; very good quality.  Russian film with English subtitles).

DVD-R HAS A TOTAL TIME OF  169 minutes

PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW.  IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):

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DARK IS THE NIGHT (1944) * with switchable English subtitles *

Однажды ночью на развалины захваченного города падает горящий самолет. Молодая учительница с риском для жизни спасает трех раненных бойцов. Это фильм о подвиге, который совершает обыкновенная девушка, больше похожая на школьницу, хрупкая, беспомощная, которая боится врагов. Но сильнее страха — мужество и непреклонность, которые живут в ее душе. 

One night, a burning plane falls into a city occupied by the Fascists.  A young teacher, her family recently executed by the Germans, discovers three wounded Russians in the basement of the school, where her family had set up their home.  The young woman -- more like an ordinary girl; fragile, helpless and terrified of the enemy -- finds the strength within her to defy the Fascists and their Russian collaborators and to protect the wounded soldiers from being turned over to certain execution at the hands of the conquerors.  The courage and steadfastness, which live in her soul, prove stronger than fear.  The film was shot in Stalingrad a year after the German Sixth Army and their auxiliaries met their end there.

DVD-R is in Russian with switchable English subtitles.  Approx. 76 mins. + a 15 min. contemporary newsreel.  Some pixellization and softness.  A bit shadowy.  Apparently, "dark is the film", too.

PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW.  IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):

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DAWNS HERE ARE QUIET (1972) *with switchable English subtitles*

Based on the eponymous book by Boris Vasilyev, the film is set in Karelia (North-West of Russia, near Finland) in 1941 during WWII. In a beautiful and quiet wilderness far from the front-line, there is an anti-aircraft artillery point, where Corporal Vaskov is stationed with a group of young women in training. One of the women, while sneaking from camp to visit her young son, sees two German paratroopers. Vaskov takes five of the women to stop the two paratroopers, but finds sixteen paratroopers instead, leaving the small group of patriots to engage the enemy in an unequal fight.

158 minutes long. Very good quality.

Region Free (can play in any DVD player).

DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN AND WITH SWITCHABLE ENGLISH SUBTITLES. 

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW.  IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):

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DER GROSSE VATERLÄNDISCHE KRIEG (1965) * with switchable English subtiltles *

Mit einem Blitzkrieg hoffte Hitler, 1941 die Sowjetunion besiegen zu können. Das misslingt und schließlich wird der Krieg in das Land getragen, von dem er ausging. Mit schonungsloser Offenheit machen Originalaufnahmen das Grauen dieses Krieges deutlich. 236 sowjetische Kameraleuten haben im Krieg über vier Millionen Meter Zelluloid belichtet. Das meiste blieb in den Archiven, bis in 1965 der sowjetische Regisseur Roman Karmen seine eigene Kriegsdokumentation gemacht hat. Über zwei Monate lang, bis Mitte 1979, versammelten sich jeden Dienstag- und Freitagabend Dutzende Millionen Sowjetbürger vor ihren Fernsehapparaten. Für die Opfer und ihre Angehörige war die Serie ein ungewöhnliches, ein aufwühlendes Erlebnis. Manches wird verdrängt in der Erinnerung, und im Film erst recht. Das gilt für einen wichtigen Teil der Vorgeschichte, den Hitler-Stalin-Pakt von 1939, für das geheime Zusatzprotokoll, das »für den Fall einer territorial-politischen Neuordnung« die Staaten zwischen den Großmächten Deutsches Reich und UdSSR jeweils einem von beiden zuschlug. Der Überfall der deutschen Wehrmacht traf die sowjetische Führung vollkommen unvorbereitet. Die Völker der Sowjetunion leisteten einen heroischen Abwehrkampf, in dem etwa 25 bis 40 Millionen Bürger und Sowjetsoldaten starben.

Hitler intended to wipe out the Soviet Union with a Blitzkrieg in the Summer of 1941.  This failed; and in the end, the war which he started came back to the country which launched it.  The reality of this war is shown in mercilessly uncensored, original films taken by 236 Soviet cameramen during the War.  Most of these films remained in archives until the Soviet director Roman Karmen put together his own documentary about the conflict in 1965.  Over two months long, in the middle of 1979, dozens of millions of Soviet citizens sat in front of their TV sets every Tuesday and Friday evening to watch his work.  For the victims and their relatives, the series proved to be an unusual and stirring event.  A lot has been left to fade from memory.  This is especially true for an important part of history which preceded the invasion of the USSR:  the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939, whose secret supplementary protocol divided up the states geographically located between Germany and the USSR, to be ruled as each dictator saw fit to do so.  The invasion of the USSR caught the Soviet leadership completely unprepared.  The people of the USSR fought a heroic defensive battle, in which 25 to 40 million citizens and soldiers died.  In spite of the fairly frequent – but accurate – jabs at the West for not opening the Second Front in Europe and in spite of the overtly obvious Communist propaganda, the history shown in this DDR version of the Soviet classic is quite accurate and helps us to understand the sacrifices made and the horror suffered by a nation, whose contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany is quite often almost ignored in the western world.

THIS DVD-R IS IN GERMAN WITH SWITCHABLE ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  APPROX. 118 MINUTES LONG.  OVERALL EXCELLENT FILM QUALITY WITH SOME PIXELLIZATION

PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW.  IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):

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FATHER OF A SOLDIER (1964) + ENTHUSIASM: DONBASS SYMPHONY (1930) *with English subtitles*

FATHER OF A SOLDIER: 
 
In this war drama set towards the end of the Great Patriotic War (WWII), a Georgian farmer embarks upon a dangerous journy to find his son.  His travails begin after he learns  that his boy, a soldier recently wounded in battle, is recuperating in the hospital.  The farmer sets off to see him.  This man has an abiding love and respect for the beauty of the land.  As he journeys, he is appalled at the destruction which surrounds him.  Once lush and beautiful, the bombed-out land has become deeply scarred and barren.  He arrives at the hospital, only to discover that his son has been sent back to his tank unit.  The dogged farmer than sets off to find it.  He soon finds himself in the midst of a battle.  This leads him to join the Soviet arm.  
(87 mins.; in English and in very good quality).

ENTHUSIASM:  THE DONBASS SYMPHONY  (1930): 
 

Put out in 1930, this not-so-ordinary, Soviet propaganda film chronicles the achievements and exploitations of the mining and industrial workers in the eastern Ukraine.  The films mocks the former bourgeois lifestyle of the Donbass' inhabitants, as well as their slavish subservience to religion and superstition.  The linking of religion and public intoxication with the oppression of the Czarist and bourgeois society is mirrored with the destruction of the orthodox church and the reorganization of the workers in the revolutionary USSR.  It might sound overbearing and boring; but the film is anything but.  And while subtitles are not available, one need not speak Russian to understand what is going on ... nor to miss the point of the film, which, at times, may be rather offensive to traditional, western social ideals.  

(65 mins., in Russian and in very good quality).
REGION FREE -- WILL PLAY IN ANY DVD PLAYER.

DVD-R HAS A TOTAL RUNNING TIME OF 152 MINUTES. OVERALL QUALITY VERY GOOD.

PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW.  IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):

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HOT SNOW  (1974)  * with switchable English subtitles *

Also known as "Goryachiy Sneg", this is another typical Soviet war film, this time about the defense of Moscow before the German fall/winter onslaught of 1941.  Nice action scenes and an expenditure of ammunition as only a socialist economy not answerable to anyone could muster up.

DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN WITH OPTIONAL ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  APPROXIMATELY 99 MINUTES.  IN VERY GOOD QUALITY.  

REGION FREE  (will play in any dvd player).

ONLY OLD MEN ARE GOING TO BATTLE (1975) * with switchable English subtitles *

This film has become known as one of the best Russian films about the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.   The “old men” in this squadron were no older than twenty; but those “wet behind the ears”, reinforcements fresh from flying schools with accelerated training, were not allowed to go to battle for quite a while.   They had yet to experience everything – the heat of the battle, the joy of the first victory over the enemy, the grandeur of a brotherhood strengthened with blood, the first love, and the bitterness of a loss.  Then there came the day when, on hearing the command “only ‘old men’ are going to battle”, it was they who rushed to their planes.  In  its first year at the theatres, the film was seen by 44.3 million viewers – a record in the history of world cinema.  When this war musical was released (1973), audiences thronged at the theatres, asking for a “spare” ticket, and the old, long-forgotten “Darkie” song became very popular again.  


DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN WITH SWITCHABLE ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  APPROXIMATELY 88 MINUTES.  IN VERY GOOD QUALITY. 

REGION FREE  (will play in any dvd player).

THE FALL OF BERLIN (1949) * with switchable English subtitles *

Entertaining, but rather simplistic, film about the war on the Eastern Front, which ultimately led to a Soviet victory in 1945.  It is obvious from the rich, pastel colors of this film, as well as the equipment used in the film's scenes, that no expense was spared in the production of this work.  Viewers with a poor to mediocre understanding of postwar politics will probably be offended by quite a bit of what is shown in the film:  Hitler is shown as a simpleminded buffoon, who, at one point in the film when he loses his temper, is patronized by both Goebbels and Goering and told he is tired and needs to take a rest;  Wehrmacht generals are shown standing up to Hitler and telling him, as early as the offensive on Moscow in 1941, that it is impossible to beat the Soviet Union;  Churchill is shown as a double-crossing, hunchedback creature intent on carrying forth the battle against Bolshevism after Hitler's defeat, no matter what the cost to world peace; and an advisor to the British government is shown visiting Goering in Germany in 1943 to negotiate the sale of chrome and tungsten to shore up Germany's war effort.  It doesn't help that the British representative openly declares that the western Allies have done everything possible to help Germany in its war against the USSR by purposely delaying the opening of a second front in western Europe.  Interestingly, while the Soviet Union was in an all out (cold) war with the west by the time this film was made, Stalin's personal affection for President Roosevelt is clearly shown in the sympathetic portrayal of FDR in the Yalta Conference scene.

This film is much less about historical fact finding or setting the record straight about the USSR's contribution to the defeat of fascism in the Second World War than it is about "drawing the lines".   It is none-too-subtle about convincing even the simplest of viewers that the western Allies in 1949 were simply the heir to Nazism's plans vis-a-vis the peaceloving peoples of the Eastern Bloc.  Still, if you can get past the gross distortions of history and the disgustingly obvious adoration of history's worst mass murderer (Stalin), the film is well worth the investment.



DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN WITH OPTIONAL ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  APPROXIMATELY 151 MINUTES. 
 

THERE ARE MINOR SOUND ISSUES AND THE PICTURE IS NOT THE SHARPEST  (which is OK, because Stalin wasn't the brightest bulb in the box of dictators), BUT OVERALL, IT'S QUITE WATCHABLE AND WORTH THE INVESTMENT.

PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW.  IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):

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HUT TWO WENT THE SOLDIERS (1977) + BEZHIN LUG (1937) * with switchable English subtitles *

HUT TWO, WENT THE SOLDIERS:

Also known as, "One-Two, Soldiers Were Going" and by its Russian title, "Aty-Baty, Shli Soldaty", this richly colored war film talks about how the fathers who went off to war stay forever young and, some 30 years later, how their children end up returning to the place where some of their fathers fought their last heroic battles against the fascists.  Surprisingly low-key in the propaganda department, but "Soviet" nonetheless. 
Approximately 82 minutes long and in very good quality.
BEZHIN LUG  (1937):

For those familiar with the works of Sergei Eisenstein, this is a film you will want to add to your collection.  Very close indeed to the story of the child murdered by his grandfather in Stalin's Russia for turning in his father to the authorities for anti-Soviet speech, the plot of this film concerns the murder of a Kolkhoz worker by his father, who objects to his son working for Soviet power. 
Only 31 minutes in length, but still very impressive.  Silent film with English intertitles.


DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN WITH OPTIONAL ENGLISH SUBTITLES (except for the silent film listed above).  APPROXIMATELY 112 MINUTES.  IN VERY GOOD QUALITY.

REGION FREE  (will play in any dvd player).

THEY FOUGHT FOR THEIR MOTHERLAND (1975) * with switchable English and German subtitles * 

They Fought for Their Motherland is a film is based on the eponymous book by Mikhail Sholokhov.  The action is set in Russia in July of 1942 during the Second World War.  The advancing Nazi Armies are approaching Stalingrad.  The Russians are exhausted and outnumbered.  But in a bloody battle the invading Nazi Armies are stopped at Stalingrad.

DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN WITH OPTIONAL ENGLISH AND GERMAN SUBTITLES.  APPROXIMATELY 137 MINUTES.  IN VERY GOOD QUALITY. 

REGION FREE  (will play in any dvd player).

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TRIAL ON THE ROAD (1971) (Proverka na Dorogakh) *with switchable English subtitles*

This film is set in the winter of 1942 during the Nazi occupation of Russia.  Partisan guerrillas, led by Ivan Lokotkov, are testing a Russian formerly in the service of the Wehrmacht, Lazarev, who briefly collaborated with the Nazis for survival.  Lazarev is not executed, but instead he is given a chance to prove his loyalty.  He has to go back to a German-controlled railway station, where everyone knows him, and hijack a train fillled with food supplies.   Lazarev proves himself to be a hero.


DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN WITH OPTIONAL ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  APPROXIMATELY 92 MINUTES.  IN VERY GOOD QUALITY, BUT WITH SOME TINNINESS TO THE SOUND.

REGION FREE  (will play in any dvd player)

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