Comrade Detective’s Joe Kraemer and the Art of the Satire

September 27, 2017 | By

Just posted is a review of Amazon’s original series Comrade Detective, a subtle yet brilliant gem that’s designed to be a ‘lost’ Romanian propaganda series from 1983 which has been ‘restored’ and dubbed into English so audiences can relish a vintage Soviet, anti-American riff on the detective genre.

I’m also supplementing the series review (which runs a more than perfect 6 episode run) with a podcast interview featuring Joe Kraemer, a composer whose work I’ve enjoyed going way back to The Way of the Gun (2000).

That was one of the early DVDs to feature an isolated score-composer commentary track, and Kraemer’s scored almost every genre and format around, culminating in two action favourites, Jack Reacher (2012), and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015), the latter featuring one of the best action scores in recent years.

His music for Comrade Detective is clever, serious, and lightly satirical, and in our conversation we talk about scoring a fake Soviet era propaganda series, audio commentaries, vinyl, and composing music for King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen (2017), Steve Mitchell’s documentary on cult indie producer-director-writer Larry Cohen, co-produced by Matt Verboys and Michael V. Gerhard, founders of venerable La-La Land Records.

Comrade Detective will strike a special chord among fans of Soviet propaganda, satire, and absurdism, but us Canadians will react maybe a bit more warmly, since we have a history of riffing American shows during the 1980s.

If the names of series like Sweating Bullets / aka Tropical Heat (1992-1993), Night Heat (1985-1989), and Street Justice (1991-1993) elicit a unique fusion of groans, face-palms, and warm & fuzzy feelings, well, you’re of that age to have experienced the magic of Canadian Content (CanCon) genre productions successfully sold around the world that were replayed endlessly on local stations to satisfy CanCon broadcast requirements.

Americans may have seen these iconic shows – CBS Late Night featured several local productions, starting with Night Heat – but they wouldn’t have understood why I might be the only loon who correlates Amazon’s faux Soviet propaganda series with our cheeky knock-offs.

Listen to the podcast (see links at end) for some explanation and edification (or outright blather).

I’ll have a series of new reviews shortly – upcoming sets of covered titles include movies about mummies, Los Angeles vice squad tales, and more – plus teaser material tied to Video Store Day, which happens Saturday October 21.

As for some context to where I’m coming from with my oddball theory, here’s a selection of CanCon series intros to give you a flavour of our local fromage, and the evil lyrics that won’t leave your head.







Sampled enough? Okay! Now check out the podcast with Joe Kraemer, available via Google Play, iTunes, Libsyn. and YouTube.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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Category: EDITOR'S BLOG, INTERVIEWS, podcast

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