99 minutes| Czechoslovakia| 1964| Subtitled| Black and White| 35mm

Beginning with the fabulous satire The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (USSR, 1924), Red Westerns, or Osterns, began to emerge throughout the Soviet Republics. Most, though not all, were explicit critiques of U.S. imperialism and capitalist excess. The heroes were the Native Americans or immigrant Eastern Europeans perturbed by the barbarism and indulgence of the Wild West.

One of the most famous, and still popular in Eastern Europe, is the Czechoslovakian classic Lemonade Joe, a musical parody of the American West and classic Hollywood Westerns such as Ford’s Stagecoach (1939). The white-clad, white horse-riding, white-toothed teetotal hero Joe rides into town; he’s an agent for the Kolaloka soft drinks company and plans to impose prohibition. On its release, 4.5 million people went to see it. A culmination of many talents, including Jiri Trnka, the father of Czech animation, this is a Western unlike any you’re likely to have seen.

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