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Girl in the Kremlin, The (1957)

This thriller from Universal-International was based on the assumption that Joseph Stalin’s funeral was actually that of a double and that the tyrant himself escaped alive with some plastic surgery and half the Russian treasury.

The story involves the efforts of courageous and athletic American private detective and former OSS agent Steve Anderson (Lex Barker) and European underground leader Mischa Rimilkin (Jeffrey Stone) to rescue a nurse played by Zsa Zsa Gabor from the virtual harem maintained by the Red dictator. They undertake the mission at the behest of the nurse’s twin sister (also played by miss Gabor).

The picture starts with a shocking scene in which Stalin (Maurice Manson, aided by a remarkable makeup job) is shown watching with sadistic pleasure while a pretty girl (Natalia Daryll) has her head shaved to the bone.

From there, the film proceeds at a breakneck pace, full of thrills and suspense, to the final and actual demise of Comrade Joe in a horrifying climactic sequence.

Anderson locates the Red chief and his entourage in a Greek monastery, despite the facial redo etc. and there’s a spate of action before Stalin’s son, Jacob (William Schallert), takes the old man for a ride, during which their car plunges from a mountain road and bursts into flames.


Unsurprisingly, The Girl In The Kremlin was directed by Russell Birdwell, a notable right-wing activist in Hollywood and a vocal supporter of the McCarthy anti-Communist blacklist. It’s corny as hell, but worth a watch.

Steve Anderson
Lex Barker
Lili Grisenko/Greta Grisenko
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Mischa Rimilkin
Jeffrey Stone
Joseph Stalin
Maurice Manson
Jacob Stalin
William Schallert
Lavrenti Beria
Aram Katcher
Natalia Daryll
Michael Fox

Russell Birdwell