The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming

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The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming is a 1966 American comedy film. Based on the Nathaniel Benchley juvenile novel, The Off-Islanders, it was directed by Norman Jewison and adapted for the screen by William Rose. The movie tells the Cold War story of the comedic chaos which ensues when the Soviet submarine, Спрут (pronounced Sprut - Octopus), accidentally runs aground near a small New England island town. The all star cast includes Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Theodore Bikel, Jonathan Winters, and in his first film, Alan Arkin.


Plot summary

A Russian submarine draws too close to the New England coast when its captain wants to take a good look at America and runs aground on a sandbar near an island off Cape Ann, Gloucester. Rather than radio for help and risk an embarrassing international incident, the captain sends a nine-man landing party headed by his second-in-command Lieutenant Yuri Rozanov (Alan Arkin) to find a motor launch to help free the sub from the bar. The men arrive at the house of Walt Whittaker (Carl Reiner), a vacationing playwright from New York City. Whittaker is eager to get his wife Elspeth (Eva Marie Saint) and two children, obnoxious nine and half-year-old Pete (Sheldon Collins) and three-year-old Annie (Cindy Putnam), off the island now that summer is over.

Failing to convince the Whittakers that his group are Norwegians (all of the Russians are conspicuously dressed in sinister all black clothing), Rozanov draws a gun and promises no harm if the family provides information about military on the island (none) and police force (small), and gives them keys to their car. Walt and Elspeth provide the answers and the keys, and the Russians depart, leaving behind a young sailor, Alexei Kolchin (John Phillip Law), to guard the Whittakers and, subsequently, their attractive 18-year-old neighbor, Alison Palmer (Andrea Dromm).[1]

The Whittakers' station wagon quickly runs out of gasoline, forcing the Russians to walk. They steal an old sedan from Muriel Everett (Doro Merande), the postmistress; she calls Alice Foss (Tessie O'Shea), the gossipy telephone switchboard operator, and before long, wild rumors throw the entire island into confusion. As level-headed Police Chief Link Mattocks (Brian Keith) and his bumbling assistant Norman Jonas (Jonathan Winters) try to squelch the inept vigilante movement of blustering Fendall Hawkins (Paul Ford), the Russians find and take a boat. Meanwhile, Walt, accompanied by a hysterical Elspeth, manages to overpower Kolchin, due to his reluctance to hurt anyone. During the commotion, Kolchin flees, but when Walt and Elspeth leave to find help, he returns. He assures a scared Alison and offers her his rifle, which she does not accept.

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