Ivan Kouznetsoff (Sir Laurence Olivier), a Russian engineer, recounts during World War II his stay in England prior to the war working on a new propeller for ice-breaking ships. Naive about...
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William K. Howard
Just after World War I, the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is led by the family through the years with average number of triumphs and disasters until the outbreak of World War II.
Ivan Kouznetsoff (Sir Laurence Olivier), a Russian engineer, recounts during World War II his stay in England prior to the war working on a new propeller for ice-breaking ships. Naive about British people, and convinced by hearsay that they are shallow and hypocritical, Ivan is both bemused and amused by them. He is blunt in his opinions about Britons, and at first this puts off his hosts, including the lovely Ann Tisdall (Penelope Dudley-Ward), whose grandfather runs the shipbuilding firm that will make use of Ivan's propeller. The longer Ivan stays, however, the more he comes to understand the humor, warmth, strength, and conviction of the British people, and the more they come to see him as a friend, rather than merely a suspicious Russian. As a romantic bond grows between Ivan and Ann, a cultural bond begins to grow as well, particularly as the war begins, and Russia is attacked by Germany.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Anthony Asquith directed Sir Laurence Olivier and Penelope Dudley-Ward in I Stand Condemned (1935), in which Olivier also played a Russian called Ivan. See more »
Beatrice Harrison's cello-and-nightingale broadcasts were mostly in the 1920s, but in any case no live broadcast would have been made during an air raid since it would give information to the enemy. (For this reason recordings were used for Big Ben chimes instead of the live feed when an air raid was in progress.) See more »
Laurence Olivier is a Russian who comes to the U.K. to work on a propeller in "The Demi-Paradise," a 1943 propaganda film directed by Anthony Asquith. Since the Russians became allies in World War II, much was done in film so that they would be seen in a favorable light. At first, Ivan, the Olivier character, regards everyone with suspicion, having heard all sorts of clichés about the English. But with time, they win him over, helped by the daughter (Penelope Ward) of the man in charge of building the ship that will house the propeller.
Olivier's accent is good, but as someone pointed out, the slow way he speaks makes him seem dumb, which, as an engineer, he isn't. On the other hand, it's probably realistic, since it would be a second language.
There are a few funny scenes, and the film is infected with a lot of warmth. It's good, but not great.
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