Stalin as Sam Goldwyn


Remeber all the jokes about Reagan not being able to tell the difference between the movies and real life? This piece about Stalin's love affair with flicks–and his order that John Wayne be assassinated–is real-life black humor at its best (worst).

When he saw a movie about Catherine the Great's Admiral Ushakov, [Stalin] suddenly decided to build a vast fleet, quoting from the movie. When he decided to tax the impoverished peasants and was told they were too poor to pay, he pointed to one of his own propaganda films that had no resemblance to reality. Another time, the sight of some missile in a propaganda movie inspired him to order a whole new line of weaponry.

Whole thing here.

Reason's Charles Paul Freund commented on Uncle Joe's love of Tarzan movies in a review of Martin Amis' haunting book on the Soviet Union, Koba the Dread. Read Freund's piece here.