Sog.: dalla novella omonima di Arkadij Gajdar. Scen.: Arkadij Gajdar, Lija Solomjanskaia. F.: Bencion Monastyrskij. Scgf.: Aleksandr Dichtjar. Mus.: Lev Švarc. Int.: Daniil Sagal (Batašov), Serioža Jasinskij (Serioža, suo figlio), Alla Larjonova (Valentina), Andrej Abrikosov (Polovcev), Viktor Chochrjakov (zio Vasia), Klavdija Polovikova (la vecchia), Aleksandr Lebedev (Jurka), Vasilij Krasnoščëkov (Kriučkonosyj), Leonid Pirogov (il vecchio Jakov), Nikolaj Timofeev (Gračkovskij). Prod.: Moskovskaja kinostudija im. Gor’kovo · 35mm. Bn.
Another example of the splendour to be found in Soviet children’s film production of the era, even if Sud’ba barabanščika is not as widely celebrated a work as, for instance, Kortik. Once again, it’s worth looking at the author of the eponymous novel on which Sud’ba barabanščika is based: Arkadij Gajdar. His main claim to fame is Timur i ego komanda (1940), a revolutionary boys’ own adventure still readily available in bookshops and libraries of the (once) state communist world; in the USSR, it even inspired a youth movement, the Timurovcy, named after the novel’s hero who again was named after Gajdar’s son. Both, father and son, were soldiers: Gajdar Sr. fought in the Red Army from 1918 to 1924, and died a partisan during the Great Patriotic War in 1941; he was 13 when he started to make himself useful for the revolution. Gajdar Jr. ended his navy career as a rear admiral. Timur, the literary character, again, became the hero of two children’s films made during the Great Patriotic War (Timur i ego komanda, 1940, Aleksandr Razumny; Kljatva Timura, 1942; Lev Kulešov). Sud’ba barabanščika was conceived even before Timur i ego komanda but was brought to the screen only much later. The story’s young protagonist is a decidedly less heroic character than Timur: an essentially good-natured but hapless lad drawn into things too complex to grasp at first sight. His father is away – the victim of a plot that landed him in prison. Here lies the political importance of Sud’ba barabanščika: it’s among the very few works that address, even if only obliquely, the matter of crimes committed by the state during the previous decades. But bear in mind, for all its importance, this is merely a sub-plot. Viktor Ėjsymont, a minor master worthy of more detailed exploration and discussion, once again shows his fine touch for narrating the ordinary, his firm grasp of genre, as well as a wonderful feeling for the world of youngsters.