Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Russian Westerns...!

Somehow I have a hard time picturing Cowboys and Indians done in Russia!

However, believe it or not they made quite a few western films wit a Russian twist on the whole Cowboy and Indian thing! Crazy, right? This article from KnowledgeNuts tells all about it, and it's pretty interesting!

Cowboys And Indians In The Soviet Union
By Nolan Moore on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

“Red Westerns” were Western films produced in the Soviet Union. These movies used the Russian landscape to substitute for American scenery, and many subverted Western cliches in order to criticize American culture. Some of these films such as White Sun of the Desert have gone on to become Russian classics.

During the Cold War, America’s number one enemy was the Soviet Union. Originally inspired by the ideals of Karl Marx, the USSR quickly descended into a totalitarian dictatorship and dedicated itself to spreading communism and defeating capitalism. So what was the Soviet Union doing making Westerns?

When it comes to movies, it doesn’t get any more American than the Western. Films like Stagecoach mythologize America’s past, and actors like John Wayne symbolize American ideals. But despite their origin, Westerns have a universal appeal, and they were wildly popular in Mother Russia; so popular, in fact, that Soviet filmmakers started making their own. These homegrown horse operas were nicknamed “Red Westerns” and often approached their subject matter from a very eastern perspective.

Many Red Westerns took American trappings and gave them a unique spin. Both Little Red Devils and At Home Among Strangers are set during the Russian Civil War. The cowboys have become Red soldiers, and the savage Apaches have transformed into the anti-communist Whites. These films also relied on unique landscapes such as the Ural Mountains and Volga River to provide that rugged ambience.

Other directors used the Western genre to take a few shots at American corruption. Whereas traditional Westerns depicted Native Americans as bloodthirsty savages, Soviet filmmakers portrayed Indians as the heroes and US cavalry men as the villains. During the ’60s, East Germany produced a string of Native American films nicknamed “Indianerfilme” in which the Sioux fought valiantly against the American government which represented Western colonialism.

But not all films had a political agenda. Lemonade Joe had fun playing with Western cliches while White Sun of the Desert was a Russian retelling of The Magnificent Seven and has become one of the most popular Russian films of all time. (Cosmonauts even psych themselves up before launching by listening to the film’s soundtrack.) Even Joseph Stalin was a fan of Westerns and had director Mikhail Romm remake John Ford’s The Lost Patrol. But just like the USSR, Red Westerns began fade away in the 1980s, and by the time the Berlin Wall had fallen, the Red Western had ridden off into the sunset.

I would kinda like to see one of these "Red Westerns" just to see what they came up with. Couldn't be any worse than some of the movies I've seen lately! Know what I mean?

How about coffee in the kitchen again this morning? I don't handle the colder weather very well!


Gorges Smythe said...

I'd heard the term, but knew little about them. Interesting!

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
In the words of Paul Harvey, "now you know the rest of the story!"

Thanks for coming over today!

Chickenmom said...

Amazon has 'At Home Among Strangers' for $14.99.
25 here - your warm kitchen sounds good. I'll bring some pumpkin cupcakes.

linda m said...

It would be very interesting to see one of the "Red Westerns". I agree that they couldn't be any worse than some of the movies out there now. Still very cold and blustery here; your warm kitchen sounds good.

JO said...

I wonder how far off they are from the truth about the Indians fighting the Calvary to keep the white's away. But we all know how they faired in that.

I'll have a quick cup with you all. we're at 56 but still to cold for outside coffee.

Rob said...

That was interesting, thanks!
Two thoughts I had while reading that.

Do your kids or grand kids even know who John Wayne is?

They mentioned a remake of "The Magnificent Seven", that was a remake of the Japanese film "The Seven Samurai"

Coffee in the kitchen is a good idea this morning as the 51 degrees we have is not warm enough for outside!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I enjoy westerns. Watch the Western Channel on Dish. They have some new stuff and a lot of old shows.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Thanks for the information. I never thought to look there and I use Amazon all the time!

Thanks also for coming by today!

Hey Linda...
That's what I'm thinking!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Jo...
The truth is probably not far off from there!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Hey Rob...
I've seen the movie "7 Samurai" and it really is a pretty good film!

John Wayne is well known around my family, thanks to my sister being one of his biggest fans!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Dizzy...
I catch some of the older shows on the Western channel sometimes. My Dad would have loved it!

Many thanks for dropping by today!