The Reds wipe out capitalism on Mars!

This movie came from a tweet by Maria Antonova, a Russian journalist:screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-12-48-38-pm

And here’s the movie, called “Interplanetary Revolution.” It’s a bizarre mix of antiquated and advanced technology, including a spaceship that looks like a trilobite:

Now this movie was reportedly made in 1924, so that’s four years after the Nazi Party adopted the swastika (the flag was designed by Hitler himself), explaining its presence as a right-wing symbol in this early movie. Joseph Stalin appears as well; he had become General Secretary of the party’s Central Committee in 1922, and rose to supreme leadership after Lenin died in the year of this movie (we also see Lenin near the end).  And the fat-cat capitalists are hilarious!

I love these early propaganda films. It doesn’t matter who made them, for they’re a look back at a history we don’t often see these days.

h/t: Grania

21 Comments

  1. BobTerrace
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Creepy. Half of it doesn’t make any sense, unintelligible.

    • eric
      Posted February 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      I thought the opposite! I was going to remark about how communicative they were able to be with such primitive images and no words.
      Though I can’t say it convinced me of the wonders of communism. Rather the opposite – now I really want to travel to Mars on a shoe ship while not wearing pants.

  2. Henry Fitzgerald
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    1924 was also the year of Aelita – a live action feature film about the reds wiping out capitalism on Mars.

    • Kevin
      Posted February 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      1925 – Battleship Potemkin.

  3. Kevin
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I feel like Beavis and Butthead: “There was a butt. Ha ha. A butt.”

    When I was a kid I used to think propaganda was dead. Nobody watches TV anymore, well, except Orange Chaos Monkey and his minions.

  4. busterggi
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Terry Gilliam’s juvenalia?!?

    • Pliny the in Between
      Posted February 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      I thought the same thing 😉

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 14, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Bits of it reminded me of Gerald Scarfe.

        Other bits – I hadn’t realised LSD had been discovered by 1924!

        cr

  5. Posted February 14, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    There was a Russian writer called Alexander Bogdanov who was associate with Lenin in the early days but who fell out of favour. He wrote some interesting Soviet utopian novels set on Mars including Red Star and Engineer Menni, the latter telling the story of the founding of the Martian canal builder’s union.

    He was an advocate of blood transfusions as a way of promoting socialist solidarity. Not surprisingly he died after contracting tuberculosis from a donor.

    One of the characters in Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic Mars trilogy is named after him.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Bogdanov

    Another early Soviet sf writer was Alexei Tolstoy who’s novel Aelita was filmed in 1924. That’s also set on Mars. Soviet writers seem to have been irresistibly drawn to the Red Planet.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksey_Nikolayevich_Tolstoy

  6. Posted February 14, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I love these old Russian films. It’s hard to appreciate, but in terms of set design for sic-films, Russian filmmakers had the look of Sci-fi in the 1930s that Western filmmakers didn’t approach until the 1970s.

    A local cinema in Seattle (Northwest Film Forum) once had a series entitled “From the Tsars to the Stars” that featured pre-Soviet and Soviet-era films about space*, including this one. The cartoon was deliberately included in the series because it was accompanied by a very well made (considering the time)contemporary feature length film of the same topic. The cinematography was wild and reminiscent of western films of the time, such as “Metropolis” (which came out the same year, IIRC). One film in the series made in Soviet Russia in 1959 was called “Nebo Zovyot” – a story about Soviets and Americans racing to be first on Mars. Of course the Americans fail and the Russians have to save them. The interesting thing about this film is that in 1963 it was re-made by Roger Corman as “Battle Beyond the Sun” and it featured a young Francis Ford Coppola as screenwriter. In this version the rescue was reversed with the Americans saving the hapless Russians.

    *one which wasn’t about space was an amazing and extraordinarily well done stop action short made in about 1905 involving insects dressed up in Edwardian costumes. The short had been forgotten and was discovered by the Russian curators while gathering the films for the Seattle series. Little is known about the film and it is thought that Seattle was its premier more than 100 years after it was made. I don’t recall the name.

  7. Posted February 14, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m fascinated by Soviet sf.

    Back in the late Seventies McMillan published a series of translations Soviet-era sf under the banner of the The Best of Soviet Science Fiction. They each had introductions by Theodore Sturgeon. You can still pick them up on eBay.

    I’ve got most of them:

    Genrikh Altov & Valentina Zhuravlyova: Ballad of the Stars
    Alexander Beliaev: Professor Dowell’s Head
    Dmitri Bilenkin: The Uncertainty Principle
    Kirill Bulychev: Half a Life
    Mikhail Emtsev & Eremei Parnov: World Soul
    Victor Kolupaev: Hermit’s Swing
    Vladimir Savchenko: Self-Discovery
    Vadim Shefner: Unman/Kovrigin’s Chronicles
    Arkady & Boris Strugatsky: Noon: 22nd Century, Far Rainbow/The Second Martian Invasion and The Ugly Swans
    Short Stories:
    Vladimir Gakov (ed): World’s Spring
    Theodore Sturgeon (ed): New Soviet Science Fiction

    Only the Brothers Strugatsky are widely known in the West, thanks partly to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker which is based on their novel Roadside Picnic. Tarkovsky also directed Solaris of course.

    I’ve read a book called Red Planets which is about Marxism in sf. There’s virtually nothing in that about science fiction actually written by those living under communism – probably because most of the Soviet writers of note had a less rosy view of communism than Western academics.

    I keep intending to write a full blog post on the subject but I’m chronically lazy.

  8. Posted February 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    IMDb notes that Interplanetary Revolution is a parody of Aelita mentioned above.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0230521/combined?mode=desktop

    Martians seem to be rather keen on blood. If they are not harvesting it from humans like vampire imperialists (War of the Worlds) they are sharing it like good little comrades (Bogdanov’s Red Star).

    Amazing the consistent associations the colour of that planet conjures up.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    If I’m not mistaken, the score is based on “The International.” Surprised the alien dogs of capitalism aren’t depicted as running.

    Workers of the world, blast-off! You have nothing to lose but the surly bonds of gravity … or something like that.

    • Posted February 15, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Didn’t “The International” also get transformed into the anthem of the SU? (I don’t know when.)

    • Barney
      Posted February 15, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      ‘Running dog’ meaning ‘lackey’ is actually a Chinese term, so only popularised after the rise of Mao. Ironically, the first use in English that the Oxford English Dictionary gives is from 1925, when someone Chinese complains the Chinese communists are just the running dogs of “red Russian imperialists”.

  10. Barney
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I’d say *the* strangest video I’ve ever seen. Forget the trilobite (at least that bears some resemblance to a Buck Rogers spaceship, or the Yellow Submarine), it’s the interplanetary shoe that the capitalists use that freaks me out.

  11. Earle
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Soon to be a series on Fox.

  12. Posted February 14, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Don’t laugh, it worked. You won’t find any fat cat Capitalists on Mars today! Mission Accomplished!!!

  13. ploubere
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    If you hadn’t told us what it was about, I never would have guessed. Entertaining though.

  14. Posted February 15, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    And Americans still wonder how and why Sputnik happened! 😉

    (I’m only partially joking: aspirations are often expressed through literature and such.)


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