"Mission to Moscow" was made at the behest of F.D.R. in order to garner more support for the Soviet Union during WWII. It was from the book by Joseph E. Davies, former U.S. Ambassador To Russia. The movie covers the political machinations in Moscow just before the start of the war and presents Stalin's Russia in a very favorable light. So much so, that the movie was cited years later by the House Un-American Activities Commission and was largely responsible for the screenwriter, Howard Koch being Blacklisted. Written by
E. Barry Bruyea <email@example.com>
According to the article "Hollywood's Friends and Foes" by Colin Shindler in the film history tome "The Movie", this film was "According to Jack Warner [Warner Bros. chief Jack L. Warner] . . . made by Warner Brothers on the direct order of President [Franklin D. Roosevelt], an allegation which proved useless when Warner was under attack by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947." Moreover, "On its release, in 1943, 'Mission to Moscow' aroused instant controversy, attracting violent criticism from the [political] Right (particularly from the Hearst press) and [political] Left (especially those who took exception to the film's pro-Stalinist attitudes)." See more »
Davies is shown returning to America on board ship when he receives word of the signing of the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, and upon his return home eventually meets with several congressmen and tells them that war can be expected sometime within the "next two months", either in late August or early September. However, the German-Soviet pact was signed on August 22-23, 1939, and war began just nine days later, on September 1. Davies could not possibly have talked to the congressmen about a "two-month" timetable for war to come in late August or early September if he had reached the United States after the signing of the pact. See more »
Opens with a card reading: We have the honor to present the former Ambassador from the United States to the Soviet Union, the Honorable Joseph E. Davies, who will address you prior to the showing of the film made from his important book, "Mission to Moscow". In the picture itself, Mr. Walter Huston portrays Mr. Davies during those vital years encompassed in his now significant report to this nation. And now, Mr. Davies: [Mr. Davies gives a presentation on the actual events leading up to these events, and to this film.] See more »
I can understand the need for pro-allied propaganda when the outcome of the war was still uncertain, but this was pathetic. It's no surprise that Howard Koch was the screenwriter for this rather sorry effort to promote Soviet propaganda, or that he was later cited by the HUAC. Propaganda can be fun - try North Star or Days of Glory. This movie is not an effort to raise morale or promote a cohesive war effort. It's purpose appears to try to justify any and all the barbaric atrocities committed during the Stalin regime. Example: The show trials were interspersed with remarks by allied journalists approving of the same judicial perversion for which we condemned Germany at Nueremburg. We agreed with the Soviet position that Trotsky was responsible for undermining the good works of the Soviet. We blame ourselves for the Russo-German alliance. The fact that Russia absorbed half of Poland in payment isn't discussed. This movie actually claims it was strategic move to buy time. Davies (Walter Huston) spends the entire movie trying to convince us that the Soviet Union performed a miracle, 5 yrs at a time. Big business is portrayed as greedy capitalists anxious to do business with Germany and Japan in pursuit of the Almighty buck. Russia invaded Finland as an act of self defense etc, etc. The examples are too numerous to mention.
Michael Curtiz' direction, as usual, is exciting and flawless. It is this movies' only saving grace. The early scene when Davies arrives at the Hamburg train station was precious. There are Swastikas everywhere. In typical Curtiz style, shadow troops marched passed the camera. Mein Kampf was for sale everywhere. Pathetic deportees are on the platform - number tags on their chest - waiting for transport to the camps. Hitler Youth marching like toy soldiers. If you can put the politics aside (I couldn't) you can really enjoy the visuals.
But beware, there was a message to this madness.
33 of 45 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?