Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
Da, Comrade, It's Funny!
Cleveland Press June 30, 1966
"The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming" is a movie that is just about as breathless and wild as its unpunctuated title.
It is a grand and hilarious motion picture in which comic gems spill over each other.
It is a movie brimful of highly talented performers, more of them per square inch than the screen normally holds.
A Russian submarine is accidentally stranded on a sandbar off the shore of an island near the New England coast. The sub commander (Theodore Bikel ) sends ashore a party headed by Alan Arkin to locate a power boat to tow the sub off the sandbar.
THE PARTY invades the summer home of a New York writer (Carl Reiner), his wife (Eva Marie Saint) and their children and steal their auto—which runs out of gas halfway into town.
They make off with another auto belonging to the village postmistress but not before she can scream into the phone that the Russians have landed.
A garrulous and rotund telephone operator (Tessie O'Shea) spreads the word and as the rumor is elaborated the townsmen take arms ready to stand off a massive invasion.
Producer-director Norman Jewison skillfully handles several sets of events and characters,cutting from one to another as action takes place all over the island.
THERE IS a screaming Jonathan Winters as a policeman turning confusion into panic and pandemonium with his commands. Or Paul Ford, sword in hand, commanding a citizens' army. Or wonderful Ben Blue, the town drunk, loping around a meadow trying to catch a horse so that he can be the local Paul Revere.
While the movie is hilarious it also is warm and human and even has a message of sorts—though no one is hit over the head with it. It portrays the good and bad in all people, and especially the absurd.
Special mention should be made of Alan Arkin as a Russian officer, taking a dialect role and giving it both humor and personality.
The movie is fast and funny and one to which you can take the whole family.