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Khrushchev Does America
Running Time: 59 minutes
Cast: Nikita Khrushchev, Dwight D. Eisenhower, J. Edgar Hoover, Marilyn Monroe, Howard K. Smith, Walter Cronkite
Director: Tim Toidze
Description: [Screening @ Tiburon Film Society]
In 1959, at the height of the Cold War, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev embarked on a two-week public relations tour across the US. Americans emerged from fancy new bomb shelters for a glimpse of a Communist dictator visiting their landmarks and experiencing local hospitality. Greeted by angry mobs and celebrity gawkers, Khrushchev turned on his charm and quick wit. By the time he hit the West Coast, the US was enthralled by his presence, chasing him along the whistle-stops of his tour.
As current East-West relations become strained, this is a timely reflection on super power maneuvering. Every moment of this fleeting love affair was recorded and preserved from both Soviet and American perspectives, creating a treasure of visual material ripe for revision. Playing with didactic documentary form, Tim Toidze weaves the humor, hysteria and surreal qualities of this state visit into a profile of the political propaganda that permeated both sides of the Iron Curtain.
"On September 25,1959, Nikita Khrushchev capped a 12-day visit to the United States, the first by a Soviet leader, by meeting with President Dwight Eisenhower at Camp David. Khrushchev (1894-1971), who came to power after the death of Josef Stalin in 1953, denounced the “excesses” of Stalinism and said he sought “peaceful co-existence” with the United States. Before the summit, Khrushchev and his wife spent several days traveling across America, making stops in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Des Moines, Iowa. He became infuriated after being denied a visit to Disneyland, ostensibly for security reasons."
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