Originally titled Oborona Tsaritsina (The Defence of Tsaritsin), the Vasiliev Brothers' Fortress on the Volga was specially commissioned by Josef Stalin. The film re-creates the efforts to protect the city of Tsaritsan (later Stalingrad) from Germans and White Russians during the 1917-18 Revolution. As played by Mikhail Gelovani Stalin is depicted as the hero of the hour, holding off the enemy hordes until a volunteer army can be assembled by General Voroshilov (Nikolai Bogoliubov). In so doing, Stalin saves his people from starvation (a fate, incidentally, that would later befall anyone -- notably Ukrainians -- who fell out of favor with the future dictator). Inasmuch as Russia was an ally of the U.S. during WWII, there was a ready American market for Fortress on the Volga in 1943.
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