ANNOUNCEMENT: The Russia in Classic Film Blogathon!

russia-blogathon-event-banner

Update: For the newest roster, please check out the event page. Thanks!

UPDATE: I have a sponsor for the blogathon! Read all the details here!

There are prizes and reprint opportunities galore. The details are in the link. Enjoy!

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First of all, let me say that I have returned to the land of the living! So, what’s the first thing I want to do? Host a blogathon, of course!

This idea has been rattling around my head for a while. I hope you like it. You see, I am a longtime Russophile. I am crazy about Russian culture and have been ever since I can remember. Russia and the Russians have done a ton to contribute to the richness of world cinema so let’s give them their due.

Do you think Russian films are all long, depressing and dark? Think again! While there are certainly serious films, Russians also have a wonderful sense of humor and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised by some of their lighter offerings. If your only experience with Russian film is the interminable and decidedly un-Russian Doctor Zhivago, oh honey, let us guide you to the promised land!

Here are the basics:

Rudolph Valentino went Russian in "The Eagle" One of many, many Hollywood films with a Russian setting.
Rudolph Valentino went Russian in “The Eagle” One of many, many Hollywood films with a Russian setting.

All non-Russian productions must have been made in or before 1970. In order to encourage more Russian entries, I am doing something a little different: There is no date limit on films made in Russia.

No duplicates, please!

Grab a banner (they’re down at the bottom of the post) and spread the word.

(If you have any questions, don’t be shy! Ask away. Here are some tips for blogathon participation.)

You can cover this guy!
You can cover this guy!

Here is what you can cover:

Any movie made in Russia

Any Hollywood (or otherwise non-Russian film industry) movie that is set in Russia or features Russian characters

Any talent (before or behind the camera) who was born in Russia

Any movie made outside of Russia by expats (for example, the Albatros films)

My talent of choice was born in Ukraine/Belarus/Moldova/Georgia, do they count?

Beloved character actor Mischa Auer was born in St. Petersburg
Beloved character actor Mischa Auer was born in St. Petersburg

The borders of Russia have always been incredibly fluid. Still are, as recent events show. Therefore, if your talent was born in a country that was part of the Russian Empire or the USSR, no worries. Ask if you have any questions.

What about Red Scare films?

While the purpose of this event is cultural exchange, I do recognize that Red Scare films did much to form the popular view of Russians. Feel free to select a title from this genre.

My movie of choice has no Russians and is not set in Russia but some of the characters are Russian. Does this count?

Yes! Lots of Hollywood films (and the films of other countries) featured Russian characters. Your movie is welcome.

"The Most Dangerous Game" features no Russian actors but the villain is a Russian nobleman.
“The Most Dangerous Game” features no Russian actors but the villain is a Russian nobleman, so it is eligible.

My movie of choice is not set in Russia but there is a Russian in the cast. Can I cover it?

Yes! Movies like The Magnificent Seven and My Man Godfrey, which do not cover Russian subjects, are more than welcome because major cast members were born in Russia.

My movie of choice is a co-production between Russia and another country. Is this okay?

Yes, co-productions are quite welcome and they do not have to observe to 1970-or-before date limit. Choose any film you like!

"Dersu Uzala" was a Russian-Japanese co=production.
“Dersu Uzala” was a Russian-Japanese co=production.

Can I write about Czar Nicholas and Anastasia?

No. Not unless you cover a film on the subject. However, I am hoping at least some participants will select films made in Czarist Russia.

Anastasia (1956) Hint, hint.
Anastasia (1956)
Hint, hint.

The Roster

Movies Silently | The Cameraman’s Revenge (1912, Russia), La Maison de Mystere (1921-23, France) and The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming! (1968, USA)

Sister Celluloid | The singing career of George Sanders and The Burning Crucible

The Movie Rat | Peter and the Wolf (1946, USA)

Flights, Tights & Movie Nights | Black Lightning (2009, Russia Чёрная Молния)

totally filmi | Mera Naam Joker (1970, India)

The Great Katharine Hepburn | Anna Karenina (1935, USA)

A Person in the Dark | The Last Command (1928, USA)

Mildred’s Fatburgers | The Brothers Karamazov (1958, USA) and Adventures of Mowgli (1973, Russia Маугли)

Shameless Pile of Stuff | Dersu Uzala (1975, Russian-Japanese co-production Дерсу Узала)

Cinematic Catharsis | Come and See (1985, Russia Иди и смотри)

Caftan Woman | A piece on Maria Ouspanskaya

Cinematic Scribblings | The Cranes are Flying (1957, Russia Летят журавли)

Big V Riot Squad | Departure of a Grand Old Man (1912, Russia Уход великого старца)

Once Upon a Screen | Chess Fever (1925, Russia Шахматная горячка)

wolffian classic movies digest | Jolly Fellows (1934, Russia Весёлые ребята)

Carey Grant Won’t Eat You | Volga Volga (1938, Russia Волга-Волга)

Portraits by Jenni | Knight Without Armor (1937, USA)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood | Anastasia (1956, USA)

The Vintage Cameo | Hipsters (2008, Russia Стиляги)

Silents, Please! | The Happiness of Eternal Night (1915, Russia Счастье вечной ночи)

Moon in Gemini | The Twelve Chairs (1970, USA)

Coolsville | Nostalghia (1983, Russian-Italian co-production)

Girls Do Film | Piece on Sonia Delaunay

MIB’s Instant Headache | Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924, Russia Аэлита) and Vasilisa the Beautiful (1939, Russia Василиса Прекрасная)

The Hitless Wonder | The Scarlet Empress (1934, USA)

Filmi~Contrast | The Forty-First (1956, Russia Сорок первый)

Pre-Code.Com | Rasputin and the Empress (1932, USA)

100 Films in a Year | The Hound of the Baskervilles (1981, Russia Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона: Собака Баскервилей)

Silver Scenes | Pieces on Leonid Kinskey and Felix Bressart (Bressart is often listed as German but his birthplace falls within the borders of Russia)

Now Voyaging | Berlin Express (1948, USA)

Critica Retro | Ivan the Terrible (1944 & 1958, Russia Иван Грозный)

Silent Volume | Earth (1930, Ukraine Земля)

filmscreed | Bed and Sofa (1927, Russia Третья Мещанская)

Timeless Hollywood | The Eagle (1925, USA)

TBD | Office Romance (1977, Russia Служебный роман) and The Irony of Fate (1976, Russia Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!)

Speakeasy | Scarlet Dawn (1932, USA)

Classic Reel Girl | Silk Stockings (1957, USA)

Silver Screen Pix | British Agent (1934, USA)

Ramblings of a Cinephile | Ivan’s Childhood (1962, Russia Ива́ново де́тство)

Silver Screenings | Man with a Movie Camera

Mildred’s Fatburgers and Transplanted Tartar | Two Comrades Were Serving (1968, Russia Служили два товарища)

Century Film Project | Piece on Evgeni Bauer

Marlene Dietrich: The Last Goddess | Russians and Russian characters in the films of Marlene Dietrich

Movie Classics | Piece on Anna Sten

The Cinematic Frontier | Battleship Potemkin (1925, Russia)

Film Grimoire | Stalker (1979, Russia)

Silver Screen Modes | Crime and Punishment (1935)

I Love Terrible Movies | Piece on select Red Scare films

Random Pictures | Aelita: Queen of Mars and The House on Trubnaya Square

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies | The Emperor’s Candlesticks (1937)

MovieFanFare | Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965, Ukraine)

Silent-ology | Piece on Soviet film posters

Bunnybun’s Classic Movie Blog | Piece on Tom Conway

***

Want to participate but don’t know what to cover? Well, Russia’s most famous studio, Mosfilm, has made many of their classics available for free and legal viewing on their YouTube channel, many with English subtitles.

Or check out…

My Wish List

Films and personalities I would most like to see covered.

Russian Films

Miss Mend (1926) | An American serial– Russian style!

The Forty-First (1927 or 1956 versions) | She’s a Bolshevik sniper, he’s a Czarist officer. Romance?

Alexander Nevsky (1938) | The movie that invented the modern battle scene.

Destiny of a Man (1959) | Smile through the tears with the WW2 POW drama

The Ascent (1977) | A brilliant masterpiece of war and Passion (note capitalization) directed by (gasp!) a woman.

Hollywood Films set in Russia

Lon Chaney tried on Russia for size in "Mockery"
Lon Chaney tried on Russia for size in “Mockery”

(Remember, there is a pre-1970 date limit on non-Russian productions)

The Scarlet Empress (1934)

From Russia with Love (1963)

The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Tempest (1927)

The Eagle (1925)

Love (1927)

Knight Without Armor (1937)

Peter and the Wolf (1946)

Anastasia (1956)

The Expat Productions

The Burning Crucible (1923)

The Late Mathias Pascal (1926)

Michael Strogoff (1926)

Yul Brynner liked to make people guess his background but he was really Russian.
Yul Brynner liked to make people guess his background but he was really Russian.

Russia-born Talents

Ivan Mosjoukine

Sergei Bondarchuk

Nathalie Lissenko

Yul Brynner

Mischa Auer

George Sanders (Huh? Well, technically…)

Lewis Milestone

But all Russian movies are dreary…

Well, try these, dearie!

House in Kolomna (1913)

Chess Fever (1925)

Lieutenant Kije (1934)

Volga Volga (1938)

Cinderella aka Zolushka (1947)

Film Film Film (1968)

Banners

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151 Replies to “ANNOUNCEMENT: The Russia in Classic Film Blogathon!”

  1. Can I cover George Sanders’ singing career? He seems too broad a subject to cover in one post, so I’d like to do this little sliver if I can….

    And you’re leaving Vanya out there for someone else to cover?!? That person would be a very brave soul indeed…

  2. We’re just finishing work on LA MAISON DE MYSTERE (1921-23) written by Mosjoukine and Volkoff, directed by Volkoff, and starring Mosjoukine and Charles Vanel. It’s a film in 10 episodes running just short of 7 hours. If you want to write about it during your Russian spurt, let me know; I can get you an advance copy. Can you read French or do you need it with English subtitles? David Shepard

    1. Oh wow! I would love to have an advance copy. I do need English subtitles. Thank you so much! (Shall I send my information to the email address you included when you submitted your comment?)

  3. It’s a pretty good idea, but finding a good topic is going to be hard. Unlike you, Fritzi, I don’t have a lot of experience with Russian Cinema and most of what I do have I’ve already written extensively about. I’ve already done three articles discussing my feelings on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (it’s too slow), so that rules out that one. I’ve also written a lot on Soviet Montage and Sergei Eisenstein so unless I can find something new to say about him that rules out that option as well.

    On top of that, I’ll also have to see how my schedule plays out. Right now I’ve got classes going on and it can be very difficult to find time to watch movies other than the ones I get forced to watch. Aside from struggling to keep up with all the readings I also have to worry about essays. If I think of something I might try to contribute but I can’t make any promises.

  4. I’ve been meaning to start a film blog for a while — I had one several years ago but neglected and eventually deleted it — and this has finally convinced me to do so. (All I’ve done so far is register, but I’m working on it.) Can I have The Cranes Are Flying?

  5. Hi Fritzi. I’m glad you’re feeling up to a challenge. I would love to do Protazanov’s 1912 “Departure of a Grand Old Man.” If anyone is looking for more suggestions, I didn’t see his later “Aelita, Queen of Mars” on your list.

  6. Hi Fritz! Welcome back! I’d like to broaden my horizon a bit and comment on one of your recommendations, which I’ve never seen – CHESS FEVER (1925). We’ll see how that goes!

    Aurora

  7. This is a great idea for a blogathon, Fritzi! Due to schoolwork, I cannot contribute, but two interesting choices would be the 1957 Snow Queen or the 1963 Wild Swans, both magnificent animated features from Russia. The former of the two has had great influence on animation legends like Hayao Miyazaki too.

  8. Hi there, I’ll take Счастье вечной ночи | The Happiness of Eternal Night (RU 1915), with two of my favourite people of the pre-Revolutionary period: Yevgeni Bauer & Vera Karalli.

    I would love to see someone take on Трудно быть богом | Hard to be a God (RU 2013) – incredible film.

    Very excited about La maison de mystère, too! I can’t wait to see that one.

    1. Lovely to have your aboard and very thrilled that some more pre-Revolution cinema is getting claimed.

      Yes, I am on pins and needles. More Ivan Mosjoukine! Seven hours of Ivan Mosjoukine! (faints)

  9. Fritzi, your blogathons are awesome. I was planning on watching Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia (1983) soon. It was filmed in Italy but the main character is a Russian writer. If it counts, add me to the list!

  10. This all sounds pretty fab. I saw The Forty-First (1956) last year, but never got around to writing a full post about it. If it’s not taken, I’d love to claim it.

  11. Can I pitch in with the 1981 version of The Hound of the Baskervilles? I should note it was made for TV, if that’s a problem.

    I have a few other ideas along the theme of “Russian films of English literature” that I may come back with (presuming no one else happens to snaffle them first, of course), but I don’t want to over-commit myself!

  12. Hurrah! This sounds great! Could you put Diana and I down for Leonid Kinskey and Felix Bressart? We haven’t decided yet which of us is writing about whom. By the way, great banners! I may just select two since they are all so nice.

    The Metzinger Sisters,
    silverscenesblog.blogspot.com

  13. Okay, I’ve been giving it some thought, and I don’t think I’ll be contributing right now. It’s just that my classes are keeping me really busy and things are hectic enough as it is. I don’t really have time to take part in other people’s blogathons. I’m beginning to think the least stressful option is to stay out of them until I finish this semester. Now if you plan to run anything in April when I’m done, then maybe we can talk, but right now it’s going to be too much.

  14. Ooh! I may want two. 1977 Служебный роман Office Romance and the 1976 Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!,The Irony of Fate or With Good Steam if no one else claims it!

  15. Hi Fritzi,

    I’ve been away from the blogging sphere for about a year, having closed my old blog ‘AbsolutelyMerle’.

    If it isn’t already taken, I’d like to write about the film “British Agent” (Leslie Howard & Kay Francis). It is set in Russia against the backdrop of the Communist Revolution.

    This January I’ve been setting up a new blog called ‘Silver Screen Pix’, but it’s not quite ready yet. (I need to get it sitting in my public html folder as a primary domain.) I will send you a link when the site is all good to go.

    Looking forward to participating in another Blogathon. The last one I did was the Classic Movie History Project – about a year ago. 🙂

    Cheers!

  16. Hi Fritzi,

    My friend, Daniya, who writes the blog Transplanted Tatar, is my official Russian-movie-watching-buddy/translator. She just acquired a copy of the 1968 Soviet film “Two Comrades Were Serving” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Comrades_Were_Serving), which was one of her favorites growing up in Kazakhstan. It’s about an unlikely friendship between two Soviet soldiers in the post-WWI, post-Revolution chaos. One is a talented photographer from an intelligentsia family, the other is a somewhat uncouth proletariat. Both based on real people and a real story.

    Would it be okay if she and I wrote this together for the blogathon?

  17. I’m glad to see that two Marlene Dietrich films have already been chosen! I would be interested in writing about depictions of Russians or performances by Russian actors in Marlene Dietrich’s films, which would lead me to discuss both of these films and also The Ship of Lost Men, Dishonored, Angel, Destry Rides Again, and maybe some others–particularly Dietrich’s silent films–if I review her filmography more extensively. I hope that would be appropriate, but if it falls under the “no duplicates” category, I would understand.

  18. Hi Fritzi, can I join in? I’d like to write something about Ukrainian-born actress Anna Sten, looking at two Hollywood roles in ‘Nana’ and ‘We Live Again’ (an adaptation of Tolstoy’s ‘Resurrection’), and I might also add in some thoughts about one of her German films which is based on another Russian classic, Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. Looking forward to it!

    My blog is movieclassics.wordpress.com

  19. I just learned about this blogathon now and I would absolutely love to participate, I’m a bit of a Russophile as well! Is it too late for me to join in? I’d love to write about Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979) if it hasn’t been picked already.

      1. Fantastic! I would love to do Aelita. I would also like to do The House on Trubnaya Square, if possible. I saw it at the San Francisco Silent Film Fest and would love a chance to see it again.

  20. I’d love to do a couple Red Scare films in a single post–like a review essay, rather than a single review. “Challenge of Ideas” (1961); “The Red Nightmare” (1962); “Point of Order” (1963); and Anarchy, U.S.A. (1965). These films are mix of US Government produced propaganda masquerading as documentary, an attempt to carefully edit footage of HUAC hearings into making the Communist threat more visceral and real than it likely was, and an attempt to link the civil rights movement with communism to delegitimize both, but especially civil rights.

    There’s a handy Red Scare filmography here, in case others are interested: http://www.lib.washington.edu/exhibits/AllPowers/film.html#three

      1. Hola! Well, since my first, err, 6 or 7 choices were all taken pretty fast, how about a piece about those fabulous Soviet film posters? The designs they came up with back then were just incredible.

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