Tuesday, May 3, 2011

THE CRANES ARE FLYING (1957)

The camerawork in this film is excellent. One jaw-dropping shot right after another. From what little I've read about cinematographer Sergei Uruseveky, he was a military cameraman during the war.  Also director Mikhail Kalatozov was an admirer of King Vidor.

The story is about two young lovers in Russia. They plan to get married, but when war breaks out the boy enters the army and the girl is left behind heartbroken. Lack of communication and cowardly acts by the boy's cousin end up destroying the girl's heart and spirit. The boy has plenty of troubles of his own.

I liked this movie a lot. The direction and photography was masterful and the story was really good...right up until the end. I didn't like the ending. I wanted it to be much more depressing. To me the entire story was leading one direction and then in the last two minutes it spins around and goes off in the opposite direction. Maybe that's just me. Don't let my complaint turn you off, this movie is definitely worth watching.
The not often seen in movies "headbutt-to-the-ass" shot.



There's a lot of great shots in the movie, but I think the following 37 second uncut shot is the best. It starts inside a moving bus goes out onto a crowded street, down the street through the crowd then up into a crane shot of the entire street! Amazing! Here it is...