Theremin An Electronic Odyssey (1993)

Film details

Alternative titles

  • Theremin Alternative


A portrait of Russian electronics genius Professor Leon Theremin, responsible for inventing in 1920 the Theremin, forerunner to the Moog synthesizer, a working television system in 1926, the first-ever bugging device and signalling apparatus used by the Soviet submarine fleet. Kidnapped from New York by the KGB, he was put on trial by Stalin, sentenced to years in Russia's harshest labour camp and was declared dead by the authorities. Despite this, he was eventually given the Stalin Award, First Degree, for his work. The programme takes Theremin (aged 94) back to his old New York haunts; interviews Brian Wilson who used the Theremin on the Beach Boys' `Good Vibrations'; features performances by Clara Rockmore, the greatest Theremin player; archive film; home movies; rare audio recordings; and interviews, including Lydia Kavina (his great niece), Todd Rundgren, Robert Moog and Theremin players Henry Solomonoff, Suki Bader and Beryl Campbell.

Note: Extracts shown from feature films using Theremin music: SPELLBOUND (1945), THE LOST WEEKEND, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (scored for two Theremins), THE DELICATE DELINQUENT (Jerry Lewis encounters a Theremin) and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.

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