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You lift up your sight And down comes a hun

Written by: 15 January 2018 No Comment

I have a thing (understatement) for the Eastern Front during the Second World War… a fascination, obsession and lifelong interest in the history of this huge conflict which sealed the fate for Hitler’s Germany.

My interest introduced me to Shostakovich and his  Seventh Symphony written while he endured the siege of Leningrad – officially claimed as a representation of the people of Leningrad’s brave resistance to the German invaders and an authentic piece of patriotic art at a time when morale needed boosting.

This weekend I didn’t trust my instincts and bought a one day pass to a Soviet Movie site and made the most of the 24 hours by consuming & streaming four movies, I nearly did five as there’s a science fiction movie, Attraction,  I have watched multiple times in Russian so kinda wanted to do it again with subtitles – apart from it being a good watch the sound design was done by a old buddy (and collaborator on one of three songs I’ve ever written – he is a fantastic musican) of mine so there’s that too.

Well anyways I initially found the site as I was looking for Russian war movies to pirate and found one that seemed totally up my ally but while I borrowed three different versions and wrestled with subtitle files and VLC none synced properly. So while I hunted for a version of the subtitles that would I came across the above site and as mentioned betrayed my instincts that it was a dodgy site and paypaled my way to a day pass – best thing I’ve done this year thus far too I might add. Now I debate a month pass (which allows downloads)

So one of the movies I watched and the entire reason I found the site was Battle for Sevastopol

The breakout of the war shatters the world of a young student, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, forcing her to enlist in the army in 1941. The maiden turns out to be a natural-born sniper, her impressive skill and prowess make her stand out among men and women alike. Seeing Pavlichenko as a tangible threat, the German High Command gives orders to eliminate the girl whatever the cost. In the meanwhile, Lyudmila meets a man and falls in love. War fades into the background… Soon, however, another misfortune befalls Lyudmila leaving the man she loves on the brink of death and herself seriously wounded. The girl is pulled out of combat and later goes to the United States with a publicity visit. Eleanor Roosevelt welcomes Lyudmila in the White House and the two women soon become close. It won’t be long before Pavlichenko stands before an audience in Chicago pressing for a second front. Will her words have the capacity to change the course of war?

I’d read bits about Lyudmila Pavlichenko before but never really paid her nor Sevastopol much attention, such is the scope and size of the Eastern Front… anyways the movie was everything Enemy At The Gates wasn’t (still a good watch but) and has left me with the notion I should never watch a Hollywood movie about the second world war again – I will of course but hey I can’t help myself.

Well anyways in the movie there’s a sequence where Lyudmila meets Woodie Guthrie who plays her a song he’d penned in her honour

Miss Pavilichenko’s well known to fame
Russia’s your country, fighting is your game
The whole world will love her for a long time to come,
For more than three hundred nazis fell by your gun
Fell by your gun, yes,
Fell by your gun
For more than three hundred nazis fell by your gun
Miss Pavlichenko’s well known to fame
Russia’s your country, fighting is your game
Your smile shines as bright as any new morning sun
But more than three hundred nazidogs fell by your gun
Fell by your gun, yes,
Fell by your gun
For more than three hundred nazis fell by your gun
In your mountains and canyons quiet as the deer
Down in your bigtrees knowing no fear
You lift up your sight And down comes a hun
And more than three hundred nazidogs fell by your gun
Fell by your gun, yes,
Fell by your gun
For more than three hundred nazis fell by your gun
In your hot summer’s heat, in your cold wintery snow,
In all kinds of weather you track down your foe
This world will love your sweet face the same way I’ve done,
‘Cause more than three hundred nazzy hound fell by your gun
Fell by your gun, yes,
Fell by your gun
For more than three hundred nazis fell by your gun
I’d hate to drop in a parachute and land an enemy in your land
If your Soviet people make it so hard on invadin’ men
I wouldn’t crave to meet that wrong end of such a pretty lady’s gun
If her name was Pavlichenko, and mine Three O One
Now any good historic movie should compel one to learn more about the subject matter… and thank god for Wiki as you can find out so much quickly and with google you can quickly expand on that knowledge, the Smithsonian entry about her and her visit to the US is especially good.
In speeches across America and often before thousands, the woman sniper made the case for a U.S. commitment to fighting the Nazis in Europe. And in doing so, she drove home the point that women were not only capable, but essential to the fight.
Her time with Eleanor Roosevelt clearly emboldened her, and by the time they reached Chicago on their way to the West Coast, Pavlichenko had been able to brush aside the “silly questions” from the women press correspondents about “nail polish and do I curl my hair.” By Chicago, she stood before large crowds, chiding the men to support the second front. “Gentlemen,” she said, “I am 25 years old and I have killed 309 fascist occupants by now. Don’t you think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?”  Her words settled on the crowd, then caused a surging roar of support.
What an amazing woman, what a great film and all tied together for the finger with song, on ya Miss Pavilichenko!
So what did you do with your weekend?

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