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Mission to Moscow (1943)

 -  Drama | History | War  -  22 May 1943 (USA)
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 598 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 6 critic

Ambassador Joseph Davies is sent by FDR to Russia to learn about the Soviet system and returns to America as an advocate of Stalinism.

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(book), (screenplay)
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Title: Mission to Moscow (1943)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ann Harding ...
Mrs. Marjorie Davies
Oskar Homolka ...
Maxim Litvinov, Foreign Minister
...
Freddie
...
...
Emlen Davies
Richard Travis ...
Paul
Helmut Dantine ...
Maj. Kamenev
Victor Francen ...
Vyshinsky, chief trial prosecutor
...
Barbara Everest ...
Mrs. Litvinov
Dudley Field Malone ...
Roman Bohnen ...
Mr. Krestinsky
Maria Palmer ...
Tanya Litvinov
Moroni Olsen ...
Col. Faymonville
Edit

Storyline

"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 <siber@bigfoot.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One American's Journey into the Truth

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

22 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apostoli sti Mosha  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,516,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was often mentioned during the 1947 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in its investigation of alleged Communist "infiltration" of the motion picture industry and was chiefly responsible for the blacklisting of screenwriter Howard Koch. Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner defended the picture as being "made when our country was fighting for its existence, with Russia as one of our allies . . . The picture was made only to help a desperate war effort and not for posterity." See more »

Goofs

Davies and the rest of the diplomatic corps are shown watching the 1938 May Day parade through Red Square. Some time later, at the farewell dinner being held in Davies's honor, Litvinov is handed a communique stating that Germany had just invaded and annexed Austria (the Anschluss). In fact Germany had taken over Austria on March 13, 1938, a full seven weeks before the May Day parade that in the film precedes the Anschluss. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Marjorie Davies: [to Madame Molotov] Well, I imagine that women are much the same the world over. They all want to please their men.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Mentalist: Red Sails in the Sunset (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

L'amour, toujours, l'amour
(uncredited)
Music by Rudolf Friml
Played as dance music at the ball given for Davies
See more »

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User Reviews

 
awful yet fascinating
1 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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