|THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING (director: Norman Jewison; screenwriters: William Rose/from the novel The Off-Islanders by Nathaniel Benchley; cinematographer: Joseph Biroc; editors: Hal Ashby/J. Terry Williams; music: Johnny Mandel; cast: Carl Reiner (Walt Whittaker), Eva Marie Saint (Elspeth Whittaker), Alan Arkin (Lt. Rozanov), Brian Keith (Lt. Rozanov), Jonathan Winters (Norman Jones) Theodore Bikel (Russian captain), Paul Ford ( Fendall Hawkins), Tessie O'Shea (Alice Foss), John Philip Law (Alexei Kolchin), Ben Blue (Luther Grilk), Cindy Putnam (Annie Whittaker), Andrea Dromm (Alison Palmer); Runtime: 126; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Norman Jewison; MGM Home Entertainment; 1966)|
but still holds up as a moderately amusing
sit-com lightweight parody of the cold-war
and small-town America."
by Dennis Schwartz
but still holds up as a moderately amusing sit-com
lightweight parody of the cold-war and small-town
America. It's assuredly directed by the Canadian
born Norman Jewison ("Fiddler on the
Roof"/"Moonstruck"/"Agnes of God"). It's based on Nathaniel
Benchley’s novel The Off-Islanders, about summer
residents of a fictitious holiday New England island
(shot in Mendocino County in
Northern California). The plot revolves around
the accidental grounding on a sandbar of a Russian
submarine on the island beach, who came too close to
shore because the skipper was curious to see
America. The skipper (Theodore
Bikel) sends his top officer (Alan
Arkin) to get help, in the form of a
motor-boat to give it a tow. This gets the island
community in an uproar.
ordinary Americans featured are all summer residents
and include vacationing Manhattan television writer
Carl Reiner, wife Eva Marie Saint, and their two
kids. Brian Keith is the sheriff
and the only one on the island who stays for the
winter, while the always funny Jonathan Winters plays
his excitable deputy. Paul Ford is the super-patriotic
self-appointed civil defense chief, who believes
there's an invasion going on and arms himself to the
teeth. Tessie O’Shea plays the
island's harried telephone operator.
stands out most about the film is its title. Otherwise
its a rather long-winded and dullish affair, preaching
to us not to worry about the Russians because both the
Russians and Americans are basically alike and
there's nothing to fear.
REVIEWED ON 3/25/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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