If there was one thing Americans and the Soviets could agree on in the 1950s, it was that rock and roll was totally going to ruin the youth. Of course, there was some disagreement as to how , exactly, that ruination would come about. While American parents fretted about sex, drugs, and inter-racial dating, the Soviet authorities seem to have been largely concerned with rock music making kids lazy and unproductive.
The whole point of this video—in which some troubled teens are picked up behind the GUM while dealing bootleg records, and are then given a stern talking-to by authorities and peers—seems to be that indulging in rock music, booze, and black market imports means you won't be working as hard to build the future of the country. You are, in effect, stealing from your comrades and stealing from yourself. You aren't really living. You're just a shadow, ignoring the real wonders of the world, in favor of passing fancy. In the end, the bad seeds are rehabilitated and come together—in true, "Hey everybody, let's put on a show!" style—to make a poster decrying their former decadence. And, of course, the poster is a big hit with all the comrades on the streets of Moscow. Way to go, kids!
It all comes across as sort of, hilariously, mellow, compared to the panic you sense in American anti-rock screeds. And yet, I'm sure this film was deadly serious.
Bonus: The footage of the bootleg records, themselves, which were apparently "pressed" onto used X-ray plates. For a bunch of lazy ne'er-do-wells, that's some serious ingenuity.
Thanks to Yenisei for Submitterating! I think that he or she also did the subtitle translations for this video.
One letter different, but a world apart.
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