Remake of Beloved Soviet Film “The Dawns Here Are Quiet” Criticized

“Too Hollywood-sy” . . . that was how the recent remake of the beloved Soviet war film The Dawns Here Are Quiet was described when it premiered just last month. It also gained mixed reactions, mostly criticisms, from its audience.

The original The Dawns Here Are Quiet – based on a book with the same title – was a well-loved Soviet war film when it came out way back in 1972. Having a running time of three hours and directed by Stanislav Rostotsky, its plot was centered on the tragic story of five, young girls who worked as anti-aircraft gunners with their male officer in Karelia during the Second World War.

Though the recent remake did not deviate from the story line of the original The Dawns Here Are Quiet, it’s only half-a-time’s length compared to the latter and does possess Hollywood gloss — it looked more like a movie made from Hollywood than “1970s Soviet cinema”.

The Dawns Here Are Quiet 1972 Trailer

The director of the The Dawns Here Are Quiet remake, Renat Davletyarov, stated that they had to go through auditioning about as many as a thousand hopefuls before they got their five girls for the movie, one of them being his wife, Yevgenia Malakhova.

The film’s producer, Vladislav Ryashin, also admitted that the casting showed that those who auditioned for the production knew so little about the 1969 book the movie was based upon or even the first adaptation of it.

The Dawns Here Are Quiet 2015 Trailer

The story of The Dawns Here Are Quiet follows male Russian officer Senior Sergeant Vaskov who got stationed at a remote artillery base during WWII with five female anti-aircraft gunners. Their story during the present war – how they were battling a battle of survival against 16 German soldiers – they were facing was intertwined with their personal individual accounts before they got involved with the Soviet Army.

Sequentially, aside from the time and “Hollywood effect” elements, Davletyarov’s version of The Dawns Here Are Quiet is both similar yet different from the original film.

For one, the recent remake is laden with special effects and is apparently the product of modern film making. These make it more of a modern action picture rather than a war production as compared to the 1972 original.

Another thing is, Davletyarov added sexual tension between the five girls and their lone male companion, something that was missing in the original take.

As Afisha critic Stanislav Zelvensky puts it, the sexual context in the recent remake is quite palpable but played very delicately. He added that the movie was very well done though he couldn’t understand the logic behind its making as he believes The Dawns Here Are Quiet doesn’t need to be remade.

Meanwhile, Irina Shevchuk, one of the lead actresses in the original movie, refused to see the recent adaptation of the Soviet classic. Most critics also aired the same note as that of Zelvensky — there always the question why it had to be done when the original was already remarkable and well-loved.

Speaking about remakes, The Dawns Here Are Quiet 2015 version’s director, Dayletyarov, says in an interview that he knew the viewers, the media, the onlookers and the film critics would really label his work as simply a remake. However, he prefers to call it “new screen adaptation”.

“It’s for the new generation, those who are not familiar with Russia’s history, that a significant number of Russian women were among those who fought during the Second World War,” he said.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE