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The Red Emperor (also known as Shadow of the Cremlin and Lenin, the Bolshevist Brute) was a 1919 silent war drama and propaganda film written and directed by Edward Campbell.


In rural Russia, there is a burly farmer name Boris, who lives with his son Ivan and young daughter Natasha in the Donbass. Far away, the Bolsheviks storm the Winter Palace in Petrograd. Communist leader Vladimir Lenin leads the charge into the room where Prime Minister Aleksandr Kerensky and his cabinet are hiding (an inaccuracy as neither were present for the drama at the Winter Palace). When the villagers are told the news about the new government, many are happy, thinking that they will finally have freedom.

One morning, Boris finds that his radishes are being pulled up by Red Army soldiers. There is no private ownership any longer and everything belongs to the government. Boris tries to rush the grunts with a pitchfork, but backs down when the Reds break out their guns. Later, a Red Cavalry detachment is deployed to the village in retribution for Boris' initial refusal to hand over his crops. The horsemen terrorize the villagers with sabers and pistols. One officer goes to Boris' house and attempts to rape Natasha. Boris and Ivan save her from his clutches, killing the soldier in the process.

The murder of the soldier does not go unnoticed and the Reds retaliate. Ivan and Natasha escape the farm as the Bolsheviks set fire to the property, but Boris is arrested by the Cheka. After the destruction of the village, the commander of the detachment, Levinski, is given a medal by Lenin for his deeds at the village. Levinski is disillusioned, however, by his actions.

In prison, Boris is abused by his captors. They brand him an "enemy of the state" for his resistance to the Bolsheviks' demands of surrendering his possessions.

Meanwhile, the United States and the Great War Allies declare war on Bolshevik Russia, with a montage of marching soldiers and warships at sea. Lenin is furious when he receives the news and orders the Red Army to mobilize.

Boris is sentenced to be killed by firing squad, but before they can proceed with the execution, anti-Communist forces liberate the prison. After escaping the farm, Ivan escaped to Crimea and joined the White Army.

The Red war effort breaks down. White and American forces storm the Kremlin and arrest the Bolshevik cabinet. Reunited with Natasha and Ivan, Boris and his family leave Russia behind for a new future in the US.

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