1960s The Red and the White (1967)

Published on October 22nd, 2010 | by Chris


The Red and the White (1967)

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On October 22, 2010
Last modified:October 4, 2012


If nothing else it surely demonstrates the cruelty and inhumanity of war, on both sides.

The Red and the White (1967)The Red and the White appears to me to be a Communist propaganda film straight out of the East Block.  I can't see it any other way.  It seems to get rave reviews from every source I see, but quite frankly, I just don't see it that way.

First and foremost, this seems to me to be a propaganda piece, plain and simple.  The "evil" Czarists (the Whites) persecuting, pursuing, and mercilessly killing the Bolsheviks (the Reds) during the height of the Bolshevik revolution...  with a bit of a twist, the Hungarian element.  Throughout, you'll see one or more of the Red soldiers proclaim, "but I'm Hungarian!" and the Whites go, "right! off you go then!"...  instead of executing them with the rest of the Russian Reds, which seems to happen quite a bit.  A product of the Hungarian source of the film, no doubt, but its almost funny (almost) after the 3rd time or so.

If nothing else it surely demonstrates the cruelty and inhumanity of war, on both sides.  Numerous times we see groups toyed with and then executed, war crimes committed, and the choices that are made out of necessity.

But to me, it just comes across as the "evil" Whites out to slaughter the "noble" Reds, especially as the film ends, and the remaining band of Reds is slaughtered in a "last stand" charge against the Whites.  Granted that's how these things often play out, with the victors determining how history is portrayed, but in this case it is just a little too obvious.

Am I wrong? I don't know.  I just didn't care for this one all that much.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061537/
Amazon: The Red and The White (1967)

The only video I could find, not sure it really shows anything else than what I've described above....  Your mileage may vary, of course.

The  Red and The White The Red and The White
Sale Price: $255.90
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Banned for many years in the USSR, Hungarian director Miklos Jancso's masterful The Red and the White is a haunting, powerful film about the absurdity and evil of war. Set in Central Russia during the Civil War of 1918, the story details the murderous entanglements between Russia's Red soldiers and the counter-revolutionary Whites in the hills along the Volga...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Kino Video
Manufacturer: Kino Video
Original Release Date:
  • József Madaras
  • Tibor Molnár
  • András Kozák
  • Jácint Juhász
  • Anatoli Yabbarov




Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars A strong film - but do not expect a masterpiece, April 12, 2015
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'The Red and the White' is not one of the greatest Hungarian films ever made. Indeed it is a brave work to have been released in the time it was. In addition I respect its style of cinematography - which, rather than glorifying war and using it to try and entertain viewers, portrays it for what it is...but the camerawork consists mostly of tracking and panning (the first 30 minutes are in my opinion the best). While there is nothing wrong with this, the writing does not explore the film's underlying themes in depth. It is strong overall, but doesn't have enough scope in form or content to be a true masterpiece of the cinema as some call it. Rent it to learn about a film important to its country's cinema, but do not expect something near the level of some of better-known Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr's works (e.g. 'Satan's Tango,' 'Werckmeister Harmonies,' or even 'Damnation.')

The comparisons with Tarkovsky I disagree with. Just because a film is shot in long takes and... Read more
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Extremely Poor Dvd from KINO, December 26, 2011
WesMovieMess (NorthGeorgiaUSA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red and The White (DVD)
For starters this is really good foreign film. It probably is great, but for it to have a better impact on the viewer one must have a pretext of Russian history, and speak Russian, as the subtitles are quite sparse on this particular dvd. There are many situations where there is dialogue with nary a subtitle, which is quite annoying. The cinematography is beautiful, but again the viewer does not get the full effect due to some scenes having blurring of the pixels and constant graininess. Kino seems to have only transferred what looks like a vhs version to dvd without any kind of remastering. This film is sorely in need of being added to the Criterion Collection, so shame on Kino. How does a company like this have the rights to so many excellent films? On the bright side the dvd is watchable, more so than many great films currently only available on sorry public domain releases. I would not advocate paying the retail price for this dvd, as you do not get what you pay for. I purchased... Read more
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, July 10, 2016
Linda W. (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red, White & Boots (DVD)
Gift for a friend who enjoyed it.
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The Red and the White (1967) Chris

Summary: If nothing else it surely demonstrates the cruelty and inhumanity of war, on both sides.


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)

About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

5 Responses to The Red and the White (1967)

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    Never heard of it. Sounds like some of the other “emperor has no clothes” movies I have seen recently.

  2. I am not tempted to watch this movie. It does not sound gripping or fascinating or anything…

  3. Pingback: » The Red and the White History of Cinema III

  4. Graham says:

    I fought this was one of the best anti war movies I’ve ever seen. Nothing romanticized what so ever. Their charge at the end i wouldn’t call a Romanticism of the “red” cause.

    The captain who called the charge had just executed a nurse even when a red sympathizer called for her to be spared! The end charge was by a captain who definitely displayed the ideology of a potential mass murderer, who was also prepared to die for his “cause”.

    I think the Hungarians who made this film had balls, they showed neither side having much humanity and betrayed war as chaotic and unpredictable.

    As a historical back log, the Soviets had crushed the Hungarian uprising a decade before the making of this film.

  5. Andre Raymond says:

    One of my favorite recent discoveries. A very detached perspective. The camera often just sort of drifts off the action to follow some thread that pays off much later in the film. The characters placidly accept their fate for the most part. Captured soldiers just stand there to be executed without trying to make a run for it. Its obviously not trying to be realistic. Perhaps it is “the emperor’s new clothes” and I certainly would not want every movie to be shot this way, but it was refreshing.

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