In June 1941, famed American symphony conductor John Meredith (Robert Taylor) is touring Soviet Russia with his manager Hank (Robert Benchley) when they go to a small rural town where famed... See full summary »
In WWI dancer Jerry Jones stages an all-soldier show on Broadway, called Yip Yip Yaphank. Wounded in the war, he becomes a producer. In WWII his son Johnny Jones, who was before his ... See full summary »
Janie is a scatter-brained and high spirited teenage girl living in the small town of Hortonville. World War II causes the establishment of an army camp just outside town. Janie and her ... See full summary »
Ray Henderson joins Buddy De Sylva and Lew Brown to form a successful 1920s musical show writing team. They soon have several hits on Broadway but De Sylva's personal ambition leads to ... See full summary »
The fictionalized biography of composer Cole Porter from his days at Yale in the 1910s through the height of his success to the 1940s. The film's attempted biography matches many public ... See full summary »
Nan Masters, a single mother living with her four marriageable daughters, plans to marry Sam Sloane, businessman. Out of the blue her 1st husband Jim returns after deserting the family 20 ... See full summary »
Three of the four musically inclined daughters of Adam Lemp, the Dean of the Briarwood Music Foundation, are settling into their lives as wives, but not all is well. Thea Lemp has long ... See full summary »
"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 book "The Films of World War II" by Joe Morella, Edward Z. Epstein and John Griggs, this film "was extremely controversial in the United States, where it was attacked on the one hand as a whitewash of the Soviet regime and defended on the other as a fitting tribute to a gallant ally", while "in Russia some of Hollywood's conceptions of Russian life presented in 'Mission to Moscow' evoked laughter." See more »
Aside from the issue of the fairness of the Moscow purge trials, or the truthfulness of the alleged confessions of the accused, the people shown standing trial together in the film in fact did not all stand trial at the same time. There were two such major show trials, one in 1937, the second in 1938, and the real life characters depicted in the film as being tried simultaneously were actually tried in separate groups at one of the two trials. 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 »
An odd little movie. "Mission to Moscow" was brought to my attention by a BBC documentary on Stalin in the war years "WWI Behind Closed Doors". It describes the intense diplomatic efforts made by the allies during WWII to bring the Soviet Union into the war against Germany. Leaders in the West were willing to cast a blind eye to Soviet brutality and repression, including the massacre of Polish military officers at Katyn and the establishment of puppet governments in the territories they controlled, in order to keep them on the side of the West. This effort involved swaying public opinion in Western countries, and Joseph Davies' "Mission to Moscow" was cited as an example of this effort. There is an excellent article on Davies in Wikipedia, which describes how keen he was to see only the positive in the Soviet Union. Ironies abound in this film. Molotov appears as a kindly old professorial gent, Stalin is a hopeful visionary yearning for world peace. The glimpses of daily life in the Soviet Union include ice skating parties with piles of food, high fashion for the ladies, English-speaking railroad workers with nothing but love for their country, and American expatriates expressing admiration for the inventiveness of the Russian hosts they are there to help. In fact, while Davies was ambassador, a large number of American expats were being imprisoned by Stalin as counter-revolutionaries, despite having voluntarily emigrated to the Soviet Union to contribute to building a new society. Many petitioned the US Embassy to have their passports restored, and Davies refused to intervene. At one point, the US embassy staff in Moscow threatened to resign en masse. When Stalin consolidated power with the purges of his former associates in 1936 ~ 1938, Davies attended several of the show trials, and in "Mission to Moscow" he is shown nodding knowingly when Bukharin and the other defendants "confess" to their anti-Soviet activities and conspiratorial association with the now arch-enemy Trotsky. In the movie, Davies repeatedly insists that his mission is to see the **real** Soviet Union first-hand, yet in his visits were said to have been highly scripted and organized by the Soviet authorities. In retrospect, Davies comes off as a naïve fool, but seen in the larger context, perhaps someone a little more competent would not have been able to supplied the West with the kind of pro-Soviet view Davies could supply.
But let's put history aside for a moment. This is just a bad film. It is stilted, over-scripted, and whatever points it is trying to make are spoon-fed to the audience. Davies had control over the final script, and his scenes come off as highly self-serving: Davies warning of the dangers of war over the objections of more experienced statesmen, Davies being congratulated at every turn by one world leader after the next for his insight into the coming war in Europe. You know pretty much at the beginning of each scene what is going to unfold a vacation with the family to get away from world affairs ends with a phone call from the White House, a meeting with senators expressing doubt about the strength of Germany will end with Davies convincing them with facts to the contrary. And Walter Huston is just overworked here he has to carry virtually every scene, because really, Mission to Moscow is mostly about Davies himself.
A just plain awful movie and yet fascinating to watch, especially for a glimpse into this brief period of time when the US actually tried to like Stalin, and fascinating also for the fantasy views of Soviet life in the late 1930s. And particularly worthwhile if you also take the time to research the persons and events portrayed in the movie and juxtapose these against the events portrayed in Mission to Moscow. It is a very educational experience.
At the time I saw this movie, it was not available on DVD, but could be downloaded from the Warner Brothers movie archive.
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