Friday, June 01, 2007

More Cold War stuff…

In between work sessions today I saw about 30 minutes of a really interesting movie today on TV. We don't have a paper for some reason or I would tell you the name. The action took place at a summer camp for children in some Russian village somewhere. The kids of course were all "Pioneri" (young pioneers) and were working happily and energetically putting together their party commemorating the 22nd of June, the day that began the Great Patriotic War. The band was practicing, the children were putting up posts for the lights, wood was hewn, clothing sewn and all of them were happily playing and falling into the lake while pretending to be working. Life, obviously was like this in the good ol' USSR.

But then in the sky appeared a group of paratroopers. At first the kids were impressed at how beautiful the parachutes were. But after landing, the paratroopers stripped off their jumpsuits and revealed that they were really Nazi SS troopers who had come to take over the pioneer camp.

The first thing they did of course was to cart off the kindly adults who had been (supposedly) supervising the children. Then the officer called all of the kids to attention and told them that they would now be working for the Third Reich and that the first thing they needed to do was to take off their red neckties. These symbols of communism would no longer be allowed and needed to be burned at once. When none of the children would take off their scarves, one boy was told to come forward. The children were told that this boy would die if they did not capitulate. they had exactly one minute to capitulate.

One enterprising youth stepped forward and told the other children to do as the officer told them and collected all of the red scarves. He whispered under his breath that they needed to at least pretend to go along for the meantime and bide their time and wait for a more opportune moment to fight back. When the scarves were collected, the boy was then told to go and throw them into the cooking fire in one of the huts. But rather than doing this, he instead hid them in a giant coffee pot and tossed a dish rag in the fire instead. The skinny ands clumsy SS guard didn't notice the switch or that the red scarves were safely hidden away.

The boy was touted as a hero by the SS officer, but the children understood that he was right. Later, hiding in a water barrel (along with the coffee pot with all of the red scarves), he escaped the camp along, even managing to steal the clumsy soldier's machine gun along the way. Running through the forests, he met a partisan tank commander, and working as a team, they eventually returned, the tank crushing all Nazi guns and machinery.

I missed the last half of the movie but I am sure it had a happy ending.

Ok, I know what you are saying: propaganda, propaganda, propaganda. But I wanna tell you that this movie was probably made in the late fifties which means that it predated Red Dawn, that Patrick Swayze/Charlie Sheen vehicle from 1984 by 25 years. You remember Red Dawn, right? The commies parachute into a rural Colorado high school and straight away take over the town. High schoolers Swayze, Sheen, C Thomas Howel, Lea Thompson, and several others take to the hills and straight away decide to become gorilla fighters against the Red menice who had taken up giving the local MacDonalds back to the workers or some other such evil. Calling themselves "Wolverines" their school's nickname, those diehard American youths faught and died to the last man, eventually earning the respect of the enimy comanders.

Did you like this movie? A lot of people did. My guess is with things being the way they are at the moment, don't be surprised if we don't get a remake. Actually, Swayze is probably old enough to play the evil Russian colonell this time.

But speaking of who is stealing whose ideas, let me tell you something else I saw while watching old Russian movies. There is a classic story from here about a less than talented ballerina (Nadezhda Rumyanseva) who eventually finds work at a gas station attendant called Karoleva Benzacolunki (The Queen of the Gas Pumps). During the action there are two guys, one was a mechanic and the other a bus driver, who are vying for her affections. Their scenes of trying to one-up one another are some of the better comedy (as well as a relief from Rumyanseva's voice). During one scene, when it seemed as though the mechanic was making some time by showing his prowess on roller-skates, the bus driver grabbed his arm and drove off. High comedy watching those skates spark as the man is being dragged along at 40 miles an hour, I am sure.

But the interesting thing was that the skates were IN-LINE!!! This movie was mid-sixties for sure which means that the Russians also had rollerblades 25 years earlier.

So what does this mean? Well, aside from balancing out all of the music and video piracy, I don't know.

But it is kind of interesting, isn't it?

It is time to close down now. I'll be back either Sunday or Monday. Hopefully there will be at least a little case news by then. Egor is now free from school and off to summer camps. Tanya will be enjoying her last week home from work. And me, well, I'm working.

More soon…