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Indiana Jones and the Propaganda Machine

Published time: May 23, 2008 11:38
Edited time: May 23, 2008 11:38

St. Petersburg communists have condemned the latest Indiana Jones movie as crude anti-Soviet propaganda and called for it to be removed from Russian cinemas. In an open letter to Harrison Ford, who plays the film’s archaeologist hero, they told him ‘You i

‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ is set in 1957, and pits the intrepid adventurer against an evil KGB agent, played by Cate Blanchett, as they hunt for a Peruvian crystal skull thought to have mystical powers. Indiana Jones battles murderous Soviet double-agents who try to beat him to the treasure.

In the letter, the St. Petersburg branch of the Communist Party reminded Ford that “in 1957 the USSR was not sending terrorists to America but sending the Sputnik satellite into space!” They denounced the actor for portraying Soviet officers as brutal and sinister, telling him, “You are slapping the victorious Soviet soldier in the face.”

Cate Blanchett, who stars alongside Ford as a KGB spy, is spared the Party’s censure for her political role, but they decide to take a swipe at her acting ability. “As for Blanchett, she is such a badly trained actor that we wouldn’t even let her play an extra. But you, Ford, should know better,” the letter said.

Vladimir Mukhin, a member of the party, said he will ask the Culture Ministry to ban the film for its “anti-Soviet propaganda.”

The film, the fourth in the hugely successful Indiana Jones series, went on release in Russian cinemas on Thursday. It is being shown on 808 screens, the widest ever release for a foreign movie.