Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Few Russian filmmakers genuflected at the altar of Marxist-Leninism with as much frequency-and with as much skill-as documentary director Friedrich Ermler. Filmed over a two-year period, The Great Citizen is a two-part reaction of the events surrounding the infamous "Purge Trials" engineered by Josef Stalin. The alleged plotters against the Soviet Union, who according to court transcripts intended to oust Stalin and wrest control of the Moscow Central Committee, are depicted as black-hearted villains, while those presiding over the trial are seen as scrupulous upholders of the banners of fair play and decency. The actual facts were rather different, but Ermler wasn't about to let those facts get in the way of a good story. American prints of The Great Citizen were compressed into a single, 114-minute feature film, rendering the already complex plotline incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with the original trials.
atrocity, execution, imprisonment, politician, war, war-atrocities