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Volga - Volga

Original title
Volga - Volga
Year
Running time
104 min.
Country
Soviet Union  (USSR) Soviet Union (USSR)
Director
Screenwriter
Nikolay Erdman, Vladimir Nilsen, Mikhail Volpin
Music
Isaak Dunayevsky
Cinematography
Vladimir Nilsen, Boris Petrov (B&W)
Cast
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Producer
Grading Dimension Pictures / Mosfilm
Genre
Comedy. Musical. Romance
Synopsis / Plot
"Volga-Volga", directed by Alexandrov (Eisenstein's cameraman in "Ten Days" and other Soviet classics), is perhaps the best of a series by him that provides a Russian echo of Busby Berkeley's work in the US. Like Berkeley, Alexandrov has been attacked by some at present who see only the escapist side of this type of musical fantasy/comedy. But "Volga-Volga" also barbs "bureaucratic commissars" as did "Golddiggers of 1933" skewer "stuffy aristocrats".
Wonderful music and vaudeville-style entertainment, with Lyubov Orlova heading a talented cast, insured that "Volga-Volga" is perhaps the film most beloved by ordinary Russians ever made in the Soviet Union; it certainly was during the '30s and '40s. That Stalin presented a personal gift copy to Roosevelt during the war probably elicited the approbation "Stalin's Favorite Film". It was clear that he was proud of it, and we were allies. Today one would have to be a pretty unregenerate cold warrior or slavophobe to be offended by "Volga-Volga".
The plot: like with Berkeley, not so important. It involves a running competition (including a boat race down the Volga river) between a folk music band and a more formal village orchestra. There is singing, dancing, romance.
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