Interesting either as an expressive object or as pure movie. Based on a bestselling memoir by Joseph E Davies, US ambassador to the USSR from 1936 to 1938, it makes an impassioned plea to John Doe to forget his fears about commies and embrace Russia as a comrade in arms against the Nazi peril. Subsequently an embarrassment, it was called in question by HUAC in 1947 (when studio head Jack Warner slid from under, since the film had seemingly been made at the request of the White House, but scriptwriter Howard Koch was thrown to the wolves). Presenting Stalin as everybody's favourite uncle, the infamous purges as mere matters of national security, and Reds as all-American Joes in furry hats sharing the same utopian dream, its thesis was rightly slated by Agee as 'a great glad two-million dollar bowl of canned borscht'. On the other hand, it's quite beautifully put together by Curtiz.
Cast and crew