A screen adaptation of the story of the same name by Soviet writer Mikhail Sholokhov, a Nobel Prize winner. Andrei Sokolov, the film’s protagonist, had lost in the war with fascist Germany his wife and children, had survived the horrors of a concentration camp. He was already being led to be shot, but at the last minute the camp’s commandant, Muller, revoked the sentence. After his release from the camp, Andrei Sokolov marched with the Soviet Army as far as Berlin. But Fate would not stop testing him: on Victory Day he got the news of his son Anatoly’s death. And in spite of the fact that he seemed to have lost everything, he remained a good human being and became a father to an orphaned boy. The great Russian director and actor Sergei Bondarchuk played the leading character in his own film, which was to become a hymn to human spirit and faith in life.
Another excellent album from the Chicago Queen of the Blues, this one from 1981 midway in her recording career which spanned from 1968 (aged 40) through to 2007, not far short of her eightieth birthday and her death. Koko Taylor is a remarkable blues singer with a very powerful voice edged with glass paper. She can "blow up a storm" or sing with deep emotion, as in her rendition of "I'd Rather Go Blind" (made popular in the UK by Rod Stewart). There are no Willie Dixon songs, nor covers of Muddy Waters or "the Wolf" on this album but that doesn't detract. This is an album of Chicago Blues performed by one of its greatest exponents along with her backing band which has supported her career for many years. They are a great team.