The Communist Threat (1962)
Hi all, Nate again, realizing suddenly that my readers might not be aware of exactly what it is we here at MMT believe passionately in. So, in an attempt to leverage the optimal practices for a paradigm breaking six-sigma best business case to synergize a consistent design in the internet commons, and rightsizing the core values supporting our mission statement via the 5-vector model through cultural appreciation and donuts, I have decided to write down Million Monkey Theater's Four Hallowed Values and Firm Beliefs (version 6.8b).
1) MMT believes that sharks are evil servants of Satan and should all be destroyed for the good of humanity. Especially the ones with really big teeth.
2) MMT believes that Asian girls are way, way, way (that's three ways) hotter than white girls. Proven scientific fact.
3) MMT believes that there is a Nazi Moon Base. This is not up for discussion or rebuttal.
4) MMT believes that Red Communists are among us, just waiting, if I may borrow a quote, for a chance to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids with their hateful love of greasy sausages and redistributed wealth.
It is this last point which is of the most relevance to our movie, which serves to remind us that Commies were/are/always will be stinky bad people who cannot be trusted. Except when we need them to keep supplying us with rocket engines for our space launches, then we're all good. But we still hate Commies. And sharks. God, can you imagine Commie Sharks? With Che berets and Lenin monocles and their beady, unblinking shark eyes on our fair nation's women and our free and impartial newspapers? I'm getting queasy just thinking about it.
Anyway, our movie takes place behind the blood-stained Iron Curtain in East Germany, where everything is drab and gray and made of cheap concrete and all the people are dour and sad and strangely fat on Komsomolet wheat and Western jealousy. They also have trendy haircuts and fashionable clothes, which makes no sense until I remember that this is just a movie shot in Tennessee with hack actors and a budget measured in the hundreds.
There's about 8 people who are planning on ramming through a border checkpoint to FREEEEEEDOMMM!!!! in West Germany, using an armored delivery truck that they've been secretly welding and bolting on for some time now. They must be looking at a really weak point in the Wall, or maybe this film isn't really set in Berlin, because by 1962 all the border points were covered by enough landmines, bazookas, autocannons, and JS-3 tanks that our panel van would be mashed and pulped in seconds if they tried to run the gates. Of course, the “Berlin Wall” was just that, a wall in Berlin proper. The huge border between West and East Germany was hundreds of miles long and surely there were rural border checkpoints in the early 1960s that were not well guarded, or lots of isolated two-lane dirt forest roads that weren't guarded at all. But Joe America only pays attention to big cities like Berlin so our movie has to be set there.
The van in the wild.
Anyway, I've clearly misunderstood the level of nutrition and preventative health care in East Germany because all our heroes are so damn attractive and strapping. Seriously, look at these Commies...
Our handsome hero (that hair!).
His supercute pixie-cut girlfriend.
Ivan Drago's brother.
I would totally smuggle a carton of Marlboros for this man.
OMG Kraut hipster!
They have elves in Berlin???
Could not any one of them walk down a street in Brooklyn or San Jose and no one would give them a second look? Which in itself is a problem. Maybe, just maybe, this entire movie is a training tool for Red double-agents looking to infiltrate our American heartland by “defecting”. And once here, leading normal lives and co-opting our love of surfing and pizza, they can work to corrupt our youth and blow shit up when the Kremlin gives them the secret code word. It's possible, I firmly believe that there are still, today in 2015, old guys living in nursing homes in Kentucky who were once secret Soviet spies, planted here to sow discord and destruction should WWIII break out. I'm 87% sure that my arrogant douchebag district manager Mike is a Secret Commie Saboteur, there's no other explanation why he keeps arbitrarily cutting my payroll and MTRing pallets of useless feature freight to my store without telling me. I fucking hate Mike.
What are you looking at?
What, what is it?
No, seriously, what are you all staring at?
So, back on track here, our heroes plan to make their escape This Afternoon, but first, This Morning, they have to sit through their weekly Communist Party indoctrination meeting, which gives us, the repulsed audience, a chance to hear about how Marx was right and Smith and Keynes were wrong. If this movie was longer (it's only 30 minutes), then this would have been a perfect spot for some Stassi intrigue as the Commies get suspicious of our well-coiffed heroes and there's some suspense and drama and stabbings as the clock ticks down.
Love Khrushev's portrait, but who is the other guy?
Could have used more Secret Police Guys.
But because we're pressed for time, they are able to get in the truck and head for the border with no trouble. The border crossing is guarded by just five riflemen with some wooden candystriped gates, so it's no real surprise that they manage to smash through it with little effort. However, one guy (the handsome one, no, the other one) has to jump out and sacrifice himself to draw gunfire when a crying baby almost gives them away at the critical moment of contact. Since we've been seeing a lot of the movie through this guy's steely blue eyes, his noble sacrifice is pretty emotional.
Mix in some tank traps, ok?
Little effort to stop them.
The rest of them are now free to emigrate to the USA and get completely blasted on 1960's American hippy/drug culture. I suspect they will wear a lot of beads and get baked at a Jimmy Hendrix concert. I also suspect that the extended families they left behind in East Germany will be rounded up and either Gulag'd, shot, or reduced to virtual economic slavery because no one will ever hire them again once their records are red-flagged and they are kicked out of the Communist Party. But at least those that escaped can watch color TV and buy a Buick now.
Shame, they would have made pretty babies.
Wait, wait, wait, not done yet. Because I'm bored today, I screencapped a quick little insert shot where handsome hero guy checked his watch to make sure he wasn't late for getting shot and tortured to death. That's a rare Swiss wind-up Flora Antimagnetic with a metal link band and unique solid hands, very cool. I can't find this exact model online for sale anywhere, but similar Flora watches in good condition are many hundreds of dollars. Even in 1962, this would have been a very expensive timepiece for a simple welder in East Germany (not to mention a high-tariff export) and I wonder where he got it from. If, as the movie hints, the Stassi were suspecting him of being, at the very least a flight-risk, and at worse a Western spy, schlepping around with a watch that cost more than the average DDR citizen would make in a year is a pretty good way to catch a bullet. I fixate on weird things.
Can Commies even tell time?
Written in June 2015 by Nathan Decker.
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