Total war captured in a stunning Soviet cinematic achievement
of immense historical significance
A DAY OF WAR: “This film follows one day in the heroic struggle of the Soviet people against the German Fascist invaders.” A Day of War (Den voyny), a chronicle of total war filmed on all fronts as well as at the rear, was produced by the Central Studio of Documentary Films; shot by 160 newsreel cameramen on June 13, 1942, the 356th day of the Great Patriotic War; superbly assembled by M. Slutsky; and released on October 22, 1942. Its cameramen were informed of the actual date of shooting only two days before work commenced.
Moscow’s city streets at dawn; soldiers leaving for the front; the northern, polar front, whose soldiers fight on skis; burnt-out enemy tanks destroyed by a Komsomol unit; the Baltic fleet; footage shot inside a submarine in the Barents Sea as a torpedo is launched; artillery bombardment of Leningrad on the 286th day of its siege; skirmishes in Sevastopol, as a furious enemy attack is repulsed; aerial battle footage; partisan activity and the liberation of a village in the Orel region; war production and munitions plants throughout the country; a Red Guard mine in the Urals extracting copper ore; the Kuznetsk metal works, which produces steel for armor-piercing shells; coal-mining basins in the Ukraine; Baku, which holds the deepest oil wells in the Soviet Union; collective farms in the Kazakhstan Mountains; grain harvesting in the Volga, in Siberia, in the Urals—the first wartime harvest; and military training that will produce future Red Army soldiers. But there is more than mere battle footage; we also visit troops relaxing during lulls between battles.
As its director wrote optimistically: “This will not be the last film of its kind. I believe the time is not far off when we will make ‘A Day of Victory’. We also hope to produce, together with our friends abroad, a film to be called ‘Moscow-London-Washington’, about the united anti-Hitlerite front, which mankind will treasure for ages to come.”
This is war close up—from the inside, not the outside. The cameramen are in the very thick of the battles they preserved for posterity, exhibiting heroic resilience and a contempt for the deaths that many of them suffered. A Day of War is a remarkable document of immense historical significance.
Produced by Central Studio of Documentary Films. Directed by M. Slutsky. Cinematography by 160 cameramen. USSR, 1942, B&W, 80 mins. Switchable Newly Recorded English Soundtrack or Original Russian Soundtrack with Optional English Subtitles.
A Cameraman at the Front. “During the Great Patriotic War combat cameramen captured on film the immortal feat of the Soviet people. They preserved the inimitable image of our victory for future generations. There were some 150 of these cameramen. This film is about one of them—Vladimir Suschinskiy.” Thus opens Frontovoi Kinooperator (Combat Cameraman, also known as A Cameraman at the Front), the 1946 Soviet documentary that memorializes the work of one of the heroic cameramen who accompanied the Red Army throughout the Soviet Union, into Poland, and finally on to the Reich itself, where he fell in action in Breslau in February 1945.
Suschinskiy films on the Volkhov in Spring 1942, only seventy kilometres from Leningrad. In Winter 1943 he documents the fierce clashes that lifted the Nazi siege of Leningrad. He films at the Dnieper in 1944, the last foothold of the Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union. He documents the liberation of the Crimea in 1944 and films the liberation of Sevastopol. He crosses the Carpathian Mountains in 1944, which opens the roads to Europe to the Red Army. He enters Poland’s cities with forward units and witnesses the emancipation of Poland from the Nazis.
Finally the Red Army, accompanied by Suschinskiy and his fellow cameramen, push on into Germany itself. In Breslau, fierce combat is being waged on German soil. Then, on February 22, 1945, we see the last frames he ever shot. A shell exploded next to him, fatally wounding him. He dies five hours later. Vladimir Suschinskiy, war correspondent and combat cameraman, was awarded the Stalin Prize posthumously for his work on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. He fought for his country with a camera in his hands. This is his story.
Produced by the Central Red Banner Studio of Documentary Films. Directed by M. Slavinskaya. USSR, 1946, 22 mins. Switchable Newly Recorded English Soundtrack or Original Russian Soundtrack with Optional English Subtitles.
Two Films on one DVD. Total running time 102 min.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Two Historical Background Material Slideshows
- Switchable Newly Recorded English Soundtrack or Original Russian Soundtrack with Optional English Subtitles
- Digitally Restored from Original 35mm Lavender Film Prints
Libraries and Institutions Please Note: Educational Editions with PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS and DIGITAL SITE LICENSES are available
NTSC Region 0 encoding (Entire World)