With popping flashbulbs, furs and limousines, Hollywood made a classic entrance in Moscow Friday night for the Soviet premiere of "Gone With The Wind."
The 1939 epic began an indefinite engagement in Moscow courtesy of a British-Soviet joint venture and Ted Turner, the American media mogul already known in the Soviet Union for his Cable News Network and Goodwill Games.A Red army band played outside the 2,500-seat Oktyabr theater while moviegoers were treated to a yellow champagne-lookalike before the opening. The VIPs got the real stuff, with caviar, behind a guarded door.
Hundreds of people jammed the sidewalk in front of the theater on one of Moscow's main thoroughfares for a chance to view what Turned called the American equivalent of Tolstoy's "War and Peace," another tale of lives torn asunder by a great war.
"Gone With The Wind" is set in the Civil War during the time of the emancipation of the slaves, the same years in which serfdom was abolished in czarist Russia. The countries' histories took widely divergent paths after that, but Turner saw a modern day analogy.
"The spirit of Scarlett O'Hara is what the Russian people need right now," he said before introducing the film to his Soviet audience.
In its review of the film, the Soviet news agency Tass said "it will turn the attention of our contemporaries to the beauty of noble feelings."