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Review: Lenin: From London to The Finland Station (1974)

Gerry Fitzpatrick

11 December 2017

Just off Redman's Road in Whitechapel east London there is Jubilee Street. Named after Victoria's jubilee of 1897 most of the streets original buildings were destroyed either during the blitz or as part of slum clearance.

A building which once stood in that street called New Alexandra Hall, was a key site in the origins of the Bolshevik party. Just one meeting place among many houses, venues and pubs were exiled Russian revolutionaries met. Krupskaya and Trotsky recall this and much more in their detailed recollections. During the 1970s this history was re-imagined when the established and alternative theatre collaborated to produce the series Fall of Eagles (1974). While some of the episodes still have great merit it is the Russian episodes that detail rise of the (Bolshevik) opposition to Tzarism. With writers like Trevor Griffiths (The Party) and Troy Kennedy Martin (Edge of Darkness) contributing to the scripts, and actors such as Michael Bryant and Patrick Stewart in the leading roles it remains more than germane today:

One of the most chilling of the episodes in its relevance to our own recent history, is the film written by Troy Kennedy Martin. Inspired by the actual history of the Okhrana and its agents infiltration then destroying opposition movements. The episode is called The Appointment and it shows how Ratchkowsky (Michael Bryant) the former head of counter-intelligence returns to press for his job back now that his knowledge is required to go on the offensive against the Tzar's enemies:

The Tzar (Charles Kay) in Moscow, Lenin (Patrick Stewart), Trotsky (Michael Kitchen) and Krupskaya (Lynn Farleigh), make a new beginning in London:

Lenin from Zurich to The Finland Station:

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