15 Apr 2013 - 2:21 PM  UPDATED 15 Apr 2013 - 2:21 PM

With Vladimir Putin re-establishing the authoritarian hard line of the Soviet era, it's worth recalling a curious interlude in the typically fractious relationship between the USSR and Hollywood. During the early 1940s, US President Roosevelt ordered Hollywood studios to start making some pro-Soviet movies, in order to bolster the anti-Nazi alliance between America and the Soviet Union. Soon, unsuspecting audiences in Iowa and South Carolina were treated to propaganda pieces like Mission To Moscow (US ambassador goes to Russian capital, finds Stalin to be a charming, kindly fellow) and Song of Russia (American conductor falls in love with Soviet pianist, tours her country, sees smiling, happy peasants everywhere); and Stalin even sent one of his most esteemed directors, Mikhail Kalatozov, on a goodwill mission to Tinseltown. Alas, this romance proved short-lived: Uncle Joe's rejection of the Marshall Plan in 1947 drew an Iron Curtain across international amity, and Hollywood went back to making spy pictures featuring perfidious "commies".