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The Soviet Influence: From Turksib to Night Mail (DVD + Blu-ray) [1929]

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Soviet Influence: From Turksib to Night Mail (DVD + Blu-ray) [1929]
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Product details

  • Directors: Victor A. Turin, Harry Watt, Basil Wright, Paul Rotha
  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Language: Russian, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2, Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: BFI Video
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Sept. 2011
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0051URX0Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,393 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

THE SOVIET INFLUENCE: FROM TURKSIB TO NIGHT MAIL: (DVD + Blu-ray)

In the early 1930s, Soviet propaganda films profoundly influenced the emerging luminaries of the British documentary film movement, shaping their ideas about film as an art form. In this specially curated edition, Viktor Turin's 1929 classic about the building of the Turkestan-Siberian railway, Turksib, is presented here alongside a number of key British documentaries including the celebrated Night Mail - all of which were made in the wake of Turksib by filmmakers whose debt to the film is very much in evidence.

Special Features

  • All films presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
  • Turksib presented in the 1930 John Grierson version, with a newly commissioned score by Guy Bartell (Bronnt Industries Kapital)
  • The Workers' Topical News No.1 (1930, 5 mins, silent): newsreel shown at
  • Turkib s British premiere
  • Australian Wines (Paul Rotha, 1931, 3 mins, silent): lively promotional film employing Soviet-style montage and titles
  • Shadow on the Mountains (Arthur Elton, 1931, 20 mins, silent): lyrical film about farming, with expressive titles and cinematography
  • The Country Comes to Town (Basil Wright, 1933, 22 mins): a celebration of the importance of the British countryside
  • The Face of Britain (Paul Rotha 1935, 19 mins): a passionate and ambitious appeal for socialist planning
  • Night Mail (Harry Watt, Basil Wright, 1936, 23 mins): the critically acclaimed classic about the Travelling Post Office
  • Newly composed scores by Neil Thomas for the silent British films
  • Fully Illustrated booklet with a major new essay by Henry K miller, charting the Soviet influence on British |documentary film

USSR | 1929 |black & white | silent, with English intertitles and music | 78 minutes | Original aspect ratio .133:1

Disc 1: BD50 | 1080p | PCM mono audio

Disc 2: DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)

Region 0 PAL DVD
Region Free Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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An amazing video about an amazing early achievement of the Soviet Union. Not only does the film show the vision of the early Soviets - building a railway across and watering a desert to grow cotton in area where it was never quite going to succeed; it also captures in a remarkable way some of the environment, the people and the world which were being transformed in pursuit of that vision. If one has ever had the opportunity to travel to and/or across this bleak landmass - preferably by train - there is still so much to see of the remnants of the gargantuan effort which was made to bring cotton to the whole of the Soviet world. It is still, just possible, to capture some of the impact that the building of the railway and the cultivation of the barren land must have had.

The film has been painstakingly restored - I have seen an earlier attempt, but this is much improved. I'm content to let others judge whether the modern sound track adds or detracts!

I think I understand the idea of linking this film with later attempts by English film makers to emulate some of the visionary creative Soviet film making. But I remain unconvinced that the later films share either the pioneering artistic skills of the Soviets, or have behind them an attempt to turn a vision of a "new world" into a film. Perhaps it doesn't matter! I bought the film for TurkSib and am delighted with it!
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Turksib...what a ride this was, 78 mins of dramatic clips and dialogue covering the building of the Turko-Siberian railway in 1929.

Soviet Propaganda? Yes....but also a work of art.....

Images of bemused Kazakhs wondering at the site of an automobile "the devils chariot", innovative maps that seem to have emerged from the present day, a crowd of kazakhs riding all manner of beasts beside a locomotive (cows,camels,mules,ponies),trains of sheep and cattle traversing the harsh desert, desert storms and so much more...

John Grierson adapted the russian original with english titles, which are short,sharp and lively. Its a rollercoaster ride with the clever score, sometimes urgent,intense at other times gentle and reflective.

This film was a major influence on uk documentary making and is possibly the best silent documentary film i have seen....
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I guess perhaps for film anoraks only ........... a true delight into previous lives perhaps conjuring up conversations with parents or grandparents about their lives and visual memories of those stories. Whilst it gentrifies most situations, for example, the English countryside you are still looking at things as they were even if the people who do speak sound very much directed as in Night Mail at the end. Best things is you can dip in and out rather than watch start to end .............. worthy of a place on the dvd shelf - enjoy
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