Two innocent men are wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The fiance of one of them convinces a police detective of their innocence, and together they try to find the real ... See full summary »
A feud, the origins of which can barely be remembered, has been boiling for decades between two sheltered mountain families, the Tollivers and the Falins. With plans to build a railroad ... See full summary »
Police surround the apartment of apparent murderer Joe Adams, who refuses to surrender although escape appears impossible. During the siege, Joe reflects on the circumstances that led him to this situation.
Barbara Bel Geddes,
Susan Miller works behind the girdle counter in a department store and dreams about the beautiful clothes and glamour she can never hope to have. Enter May Worthington and Warren, a pair of... See full summary »
College sweethearts Julie and Ives have planned to marry as soon as school is over. Their plans go amiss when Julie meets a weak writer and runs off to marry him. After her husband dies, ... See full summary »
Jonathan Street is a struggling composer when he meets and marries Annette. The problem is that Jonathan was drunk and does not want to be married. Annette does go with him to Paris and ... See full summary »
A simple peasant is forced to take up arms to defend his farm during the Spanish Civil War. Along the way he falls in love with Russian whose father is involved in espionage. Written by
Herman Seifer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This was one of two dozen Walter Wanger films re-released theatrically in the 1940s by Masterpiece Productions, and ultimately sold by them for USA television syndication in 1950. It was first telecast in New York City on WCBS Saturday 1 July 1950. See more »
Where is the conscience of the world?
See more »
John Howard Lawson joined the CPUSA in 1934 and announced that he would try to "present the Communist position" in his scripts. On the face of it, he didn't get far in "Blockade", a notoriously timid Spanish Civil War pic released while it was still being fought. Publicity promised that "the story does not attempt to favour any cause"; even the uniforms were ambiguous.
The factions are referred to only as "Them" (invaders) and "Us" (invaded). The casus belli is no more than Their attempt to purloin Our land, a valley near Granada. What ensues is personalised, studio-bound melodrama. Heroic amateur soldier Henry Fonda stiffens his fellow peasants' backs to resist the grab. He woos blonde White Russian adventuress Madeleine Carroll and finally demands foreign intervention in a Chaplinesque harangue to camera: "Where's the conscience of the world?"
It all savours of Hays Office intervention and the anxiety of Lawson's "progressive" producer, Walter Wanger, not to provoke the US public by charging them for a liberal sermon. But "Blockade" may be subtler agitprop than it seems.
By 1938 anybody who read a paper or watched "The March of Time" would infer that Fonda stands for the Republic fending off General Franco's Nazi- and Fascist-backed Nationalists-- not the other way round. And Lawson's emphasis on small farmers guarding their ancestral acreage is just what Stalin ordered. In reality the country round Granada was a hotbed of anarchist schemes for collectivising agriculture, but the Communist line was that the Republic's left-front government, including democratic socialists and liberals, must be sustained till the rebel generals were routed. Only then could land reform be considered; reform under the aegis of a Communist-dominated regime subservient to Moscow, which would nationalise the land, not parcel it out to dubious anarchic types.
Moreover, Lawson must have relished making Carroll's character an exiled daughter of Russia with a crooked anti-Red father, who sees the light in Fonda's arms.
We laugh at movies such as this and "Last Train from Madrid" for their superficial, sentimental view of a burning issue. But what right has today's supposedly more liberated Hollwood to laugh? Where were Vietnam films during the conflict, apart from John Wayne's "Green Berets"? How many Gulf War or Enduring Freedom stories have we seen? How many portrayals of radical Islam, pro or anti? Hollywood is more gutlessly evasive than ever during our dangerous times. Well, export markets provide more of its profit margin than 60 years ago...
25 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?