The invitation shown from the "Associated Friends of Soviet Russia" requests the "honor" of the recipient's company, and later a newspaper headline reads, "Rumor M.P. To Be Arrested In Spy Probe". As the film takes place in Canada, where British spellings are used, the words should have been spelled "honour" and "rumour". See more »
Fascinating true spy story, the Gouzenko Defection
The defection of Igor Gouzenko from the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, in 1946, was one of the most electrifying events of the Cold War. The documents and information which he brought with him, gained from his work as a top-secret cipher clerk, resulted in the destruction of the main Soviet spy ring in Canada, which included a Member of Parliament and a nuclear scientist who was working on the atomic bomb. This film, with all the locations shot in Ottawa, and its details drawn from the official reports of a Royal Commission, is a fascinating depiction of the true story of Gouzenko from the moment of his arrival in Canada, his first time outside the Soviet Union, till his defection with his wife and child. William Wellmann directed the film in a low-key style, with some documentary linking narration from time to time. Dana Andrews was never so subdued and soft-spoken as Gouzenko in this film, and Gene Tierney is remarkably self-effacing as the devoted wife and mother of an infant. She has no particularly interesting scenes. The really powerful performances in this film are by Berry Kroeger, in his first film appearance, as an insidious, swaggering and menacing mastermind of a Soviet espionage ring, and Eduard Franz as a Soviet major who 'just cannot take it any more' and turns into a drunk. The film is tense and gripping, and follows closely the real life events of this notorious story. June Havoc is effective in a minor role as the resident Soviet honeypot who tests the new staff with alcohol and seduction to see if they are indiscreet. The world inside the Soviet Embassy is convincingly and eerily depicted, a demi-monde and a half-life of people serving Stalin and the Party like grim automatons with dark faces and all humanity stripped out of them. This film gives a nice lesson in the realities of sordid power, and the hollowness of institutionalised betrayal. There are none so low as those who slither.
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