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Border CrossingRussian Literature into Film$
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Alexander Burry and Frederick White

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411424

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411424.001.0001

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Across the Russian Border

Across the Russian Border

(p.17) Chapter 1 Across the Russian Border
Border Crossing

Thomas Leitch

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the concept of “border crossing” in American films about Russia and the Soviet Union. Such Hollywood productions reflected the cultural and political concerns of each particular period of Soviet-American relations. Filmmakers took the approaches of exoticism, universalism, defection, and seduction in their appropriation of Russian culture and Soviet politics. The author explores the different ideological approaches these films display, from pro-Soviet films during World War II to Red-baiting thrillers during the McCarthyite period, many of which curiously portrayed the “Red Menace” without actually mentioning the Soviet Union by name. Along with this survey of Cold War depictions of the USSR, the chapter explores several prominent adaptations of literary works, which – like many more politically-oriented films – celebrate the Russian cultural heritage in an effort to “colonize” the Soviet Union by presenting Russians in universalist terms.

Keywords:   border crossing, Cold War, exoticism, Hollywood, McCarthyite, Red Menace, Soviet, universalist, USSR

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