Oct 132009


I still haven’t worked up enough nerve to finish watching Voditel dlya Very. Instead I took in something easy and watched parts of Ironya Sudba.

I’ve watched it a few times already, but this time something caught my eye just a few seconds from the end of Part One.

In most of the Eldar Ryazanov films I’ve seen, he works something about western communication technology into the film. In Vokzal dlya Voikh (1982) it was a VCR player. In Sluzhebnyy roman it was a built-in 8-track player in a car. In these two films, the items were shown as if some new technology was being introduced to the viewers. In Beregis Avtomobilya the bad guy helped obtain a western tape player (if I remember correctly) on the black market, because the customer said a Soviet one wouldn’t do.

Ryazanov has made a lot more films than that, most of which I have not seen. So I don’t know if this is a theme that recurs throughout. Until I saw the above screenshot in Ironya Sudba, I thought it might be an exception. But the close-up of the phonograph turntable shows the English words “Party-Time.”

Why an American (or English) phonograph in a film in which Barbara Brylska had her voice dubbed because it wasn’t Russian enough? I presume that in 1971 there were Russian phonographs, too. Is Ryazanov playing a little game with us?

Google hasn’t helped me learn much about Party-Time phonographs, btw. I’ve found a few that are sold as collectors items, but they look cheaper than the one shown in the film. It’s not a brand name that I recall ever paying attention to.


  • It’s just my hypothesis, so:

    I have a supposition the party-time phonograph could be from one Socialist Eastern-European country (sometimes they did the titles in English too)… Besides, this phonograph could be even a Soviet one – and the English name is sign of this phonograph was destined for export.

    For example, some batchs of LADA cars had the English titles/label (as if export modifications). This consumer fashion on English labels is very characteristic of 1970-s-1980s.
    Plus this Part-Time phonograph could be produced in Baltic Republics, where Latin alpabet is. Sometimes the central powers closed own eyes to some Baltics flirt with Western fashion.

    However, there is most simple explanation. This one is Western-European production.

  • Num Lock

    This phonograph is fully transistorized and was sold in Soviet Union under brand name “Accord”. http://rw6ase.narod.ru/000/rez1/akkord201.html

  • Natan Kumanov

    I think it is all very simple. Perhaps the film makers implied to show that the friend of Nadia was able to bring her expensive and foreign gifts. And perhaps they did not quite care what exact kind of an expensive phonograph turned out in the screen; that it was British was merely casual. You say you don’t understand something, but I don’t understand the reason of your surprise.

    As to the voice, you might watch “Карнавал” to see why the voice matters. It is not about “Russianness”, it is about standartisation. And I would say from “Карнавал” that there is some sense to it.