The Boys from Stalingrad (United States, 1943)

Figure 1.--"The Boy from Stalingrad" was set in a small Russian village icaught in the German drive on Stalingrad. Scotty Beckett did his part in World War II. A lesser known child actor was Steven Muller. Stephen was a German boy who ironically played a British boy in the film. Steven was Jewish and was forced out of Germany. He learned English in Britain during the Blitz and thus had a British accent.

This film would have been very timely in 1943. Columia produced "The Boy from Stalingrad". Scotty Beckett did his part in World War II with this film set in Stalingrad during the height of the NAZI onslaught against Russia. Presumably Scotty was the boy in the title. He would have been about 14 years old when the film was made. Another boy in the film was Steven Muller, a German Jewish boy whose family managed to get out of Germany only days before World War II broke out. One source tells us that the movie was never released in the United States, but another source says it was. A British reader tells us it was definited shown in Britain. All known copies were apparently destroyed during the Cold War when it was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee


Columia produced "The Boy from Stalingrad". The director was Sidney Salkow. One source gives the release date as Jamuary 1, 1943. The Sioviers were still our World War II ally and absorbing the brunt of the German war effort, Another source reports May 20. One source tells us that the movie was never released in the States. This was one of several pro-Soviet propaganda films (MISSION TO MOSCOW, NORTH STAR, SONG OF RUSSIA, and DAYS OF GLORY), While the films show the Soviets as valiantly fighting the NAZIS, there is no mention of the fact that the Soviets were at first allied ith the NAZIs or conducted their own series of aggressions and attrocities (1939-41) before being attacked by the NAZIs (1941). We are not sure whether these lapses are due to sympsthy with an ally, Communist sympsthies, or government guidelines. This film is more of a boys' adventure film than a realistic war movie. It might be subtittles, "Our Gang" Goes to War. As far as we known it has never been shown on television. All known copies were apparently destroyed during the Cold War when it was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee


We do not have details about the releases of the 'The Boy from Stalingrad'. We are not even sure it was released in the United States. We have seen different reports. A British reader tells us that it was definited released in Britain. "I'm 75 and a survivor of the World War II CLYDEBANK Blitz ( March 13-14, 1941). I was nearly 5 then, Clydebank shares a boundary with GLASGOW. CLYDEBANK was famous for being the home of JOHN BROWN SHIPYARD which is why it wa targetted by the Germans. We built the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth (after the Queen Mother), the Royal Yacht Britannia, and many other world famous ships, Clydebank was also home to the largest SINGER Sewing Machine Factory in the World, it has a square tower with four clock faces, ( the largest in the World ). American attress Dorothy Lamour she played all the "ROAD" MOVIES with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, e.g. 'The Road to Morocco', 'The Road to Zanzibar', 'The Road to Bali'. She crowned the Singer Beauty Queen in 1953 when she was in GLASGOW. I have been trying unsuccessfully for the past 10 years to get a copy of 'The Boy from Stalingrad', I don't know about the United States, but it was definitely shown in Britain. I saw it at the La Scala cinema in CLYDEBANK when I was about 11 years old. Scotty Beckett threw himself onto a grenade thrown by the Germans, to save his wee pals. He was leader of a band of Russian bombed-out Moscow kids, who were harassing the Jerries. Now you know it. It ws shown in Scotland." [Johnston]


The film was film set in Stalingrad during the height of the NAZI onslaught against Russia. The battle of Stalingrad was of course one of the key battles of World War II. The fil was apparently made why the bsattle was still in progress.


The cast of "The Boys from Stalingrad" included some child stars I have heard of and others that are new to me. Serbian-American child actor Bobby Samarzich played Kolya. I don't know much about him asnd if he was a ar refugee. Conrad Binyon played Grisha. Mary Lou Harrington played Nadya. Scotty Beckett played Pavel. Scotty Beckett was the best known child star in the film. He did his part in World War II with this film. He would have been about 14 years old when the film was made. Steven Muller played the British boy Tommy. Actually Steven Muller had a real taste of NAZI brutality that the other boys could never fully apprecite. He was a war refigee--a German Jewish boy whose experienced Kristallnacht and other NAZI repression. His family managed to get out of Germany only days before World War II broke out. He was chosen to play Tommy because he had an English accent which he picked up in England during the Blitz. Donald Mayo played Yuri. The boys did as best they could with the script and vet poor plot. The director knew very little about war or boys either for that msatter. John Wengraf played the evil German commander.


Ruusian children harvesting grain are swpt into Worl War II as the German panzers move toward Stalingrad. The film centers on four children, there boys (Kolya, Grisha, and Pavel) and a girl, Nadya. They fire the grain fields to deny the harvest to the Germans. They inprobably find a fourth boy, Tommy, on the way back to their village. Tommy is the son of a British diplomat. He is hurt and his parents have been killed. They carry Tommy back to the village on a streacher. They find that the Germans have destoyed the village. In the ruins they find another child, Yuri, who they admit to their small group. Kolya is the oldest boy and becomes the group leader. They set up in the cellar of an abandoned home and search for food. Tghey sabatoge a tank. A German commander sebds a unit to look for guerillas in the village. The children engage the German soldiers using a few weapons they have found. The German commander believes that he has found an important partisan group. He stops the push toward Stalingrad and moves on the village. The German soldiers capture Grisha. The German commander thinks he is harmless and hopes he will provide some information about the partisans. Instead the children capture the commander. They bring him to their cellar refuge and question him. The German soldiers searing for their commander search the rubble of the village. Tommy survives, but kills himself and several soldiers with a grenade. The Germans push in toward Stralingrad, but have been delayed. Kolya and Pavel survive and are honored as child heroes.

Reader Comment

A primary teacher in Russia writes, "As far as I know, this film has never appeared in Russia. The still illustations grabs wouls appeal to the boys in my 4th year class. They avidly collect World War II artifacts, usually with their fathers. They can still be found at major bsttle sites. They would have liked to have been the boys pictured here defending Slalingrad. They dream of fighting evil Nazis in World War II or the Great Patriotic War as it is called here. It is their biggest dream. Many have quite specilised knowledge of the War and military equipment. Thy can identify airplanes and tanks with considerable accuracy." There is no doubt that defeating the Wehrmacht was the ultimate accomplishment of the Soviet Union and the Russian people. Most of the Heer's casualties (but not the Luftwaffe's and Kriegsmarine's) were experienced on the Eastern Front. Unfortunstely, even with older boys and adults, there is no appreciation of the fact that the Soviet Union for nearly 2 years was an ally of NAZI Germany and as a result of the secret protocols of the NAZI-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact engaged in a similar series of aggressions and attrocities (1939-41). There is no mention of these aggressions in this film or the other pro-Soviet propaganda films made during the War.

Another reader writes, "Regarding your page on the 1943 movie 'The Boy From Stalingrad'. According to the page someone named Alex Johnston emailed you with some source info and has been searching for a copy of the film for the last 10 years. All copies of the film have not been destroyed. The last time I checked there was a celluloid copy at the US Library of Congress also I was able to obtain a VHS copy of the film sometime around 2003." [Chaires] Thanks Andrea. This is helpful information.


Johnston, Alex. E-mail message, April 14, 2011.

Chaires, Andrea. E-mail message, April 17, 2011.


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Created: 2:17 AM 9/22/2004
Last updated: 8:28 PM 4/17/2011