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Pervyy eshelon

Mikhail Kalatozov Soviet Union, 1955

Karl J. Kipling's rating of the film The First Echelon

Exceptionally good-looking, as expected from a Kalatazov-Urusevsky collaboration (the only color film from this director-cinematographer pairing), with Shostakovich's wonderful score. Now the bad news: the story's dreadfully Soviet. Fresh-faced youths move to the "virgin soil" of Central Asia to begin plowing, there are conflicts (a bad comrade, etc) and triumph. But has a burning field scene to rival Days of Heaven.