Soviet soldier turned bureaucrat Igor Gouzenko is assigned to his first overseas posting in 1943 to Ottawa, Canada, as a cipher clerk for the military attaché, their offices in a secret ... See full summary »
Shiftless Jeeter Lester and his family of hillbilly stereotypes live in a rural backwater where their ancestors were once wealthy planters. Their slapstick existence is threatened by a ... See full summary »
Ellen McNulty leaves her New Jersey hamburger stand and heads west to pay a surprise visit to her son and his new bride. When Ellen arrives, her daughter-in-law mistakes her for the maid ... See full summary »
A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by "Mother" Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy ... See full summary »
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Cathy Mallory, beautiful socialite who prefers classical music, is taken by friends to a back-alley dance club. There, she meets blind pianist Dan Evans, who plays in Chick Morgan's swing ... See full summary »
Perry Ashwell is a self-satisfied child psychologist who takes his colleagues and wife somewhat for granted. So confident is he of his position that he introduces rich attractive painter ... See full summary »
Highly fictionalized early history of Canada. Trapper/explorer Radisson imagines an empire around Hudson's Bay. He befriends the Indians, fights the French, and convinces King Charles II to sponsor an expedition of conquest.
Soviet soldier turned bureaucrat Igor Gouzenko is assigned to his first overseas posting in 1943 to Ottawa, Canada, as a cipher clerk for the military attaché, their offices in a secret wing of the Soviet embassy. Igor is not to tell anyone what he does for a living, he given a cover story which he is to recite even when questioned by his own people. He and his wife Anna Gouzenko are supposed to be cordial to their Canadian neighbors and associates, but not fraternize or befriend them, as they are still considered the enemy, despite both countries being on the same side in the war. Igor follows his instructions to a T, but it is more difficult for Anna, who does not have the distraction of work during the day, and who can see that their neighbors are not their enemies but good people much like themselves. Over the next few years, Igor sees that what is happening around him and the work in which he is involved will not result in a world in which he wants to raise his newborn son, ... Written by
The music in the film became the subject of a minor but telling episode in the Cold War. Alfred Newman, the illustrious head of the 20th Century-Fox music department, scored this picture. It's not readily known who decided to incorporate genuine Soviet music into the film, but Newman's score featured compositions by the USSR's finest: Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Aram Khachaturyan and Dominik Miskovský. All four composers signed (or were ordered to sign) a letter of protest that claimed their music was appropriated via a "swindle" in order to accompany this "outrageous picture". No individuals were named, except "the agents of the American Twentieth Century-Fox Corporation". None of the composers would have had the opportunity to have seen the movie, thus it is to be assumed that they were put up to this protestation by the Stalin regime. Interestingly, the four "protesting" Soviet composers were at that same time under severe scrutiny themselves for composing music that was construed as subversive to the Soviet state, and for a time their heads were on the chopping block. So it's also to be assumed that the four filed this protest as a gesture of their loyalty to Joseph Stalin (or, more likely, to save themselves from being executed). In any case, these composers were often obliged to make "statements" that they personally had nothing to do with. Coincidentally, Hollywood at this same time was beginning to be scrutinized by the House Un-American Activities Committee for signs of "subversion" of the American state, resulting its its own blacklist. See Slonimsky, Nicolas "Music Since 1900" 5th Ed. p.1066-7 See more »
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 »
In reviewing this movie, I have to admit my personal bias as a Canadian living in Ottawa where the movie was shot. I had seen it many years ago and liked it so I was excited when it was shown on TCM on Easter eve. I had forgotten many of the scenes, although I know the story well. I appreciated the crisp cutaway shots of Ottawa with Gothic public buildings and brick houses shown against the stark winter backgrounds. I also liked the way the movie was shot in darkness and shadows evoking the Cold War atmosphere. Director Wm. Wellman got the details correct with his script and the visual references to Ottawa landmarks. The Justice Building is the actual Confederation Building still used by the Dept.of Justice. The railway shown running along the Rideau Canal is no longer there but that was the location used by trains in and out of Union Station in downtown Ottawa. The actual apartment where Gouzenko lived is shown. It still stands along with the park across the street where there is signage indicating the historical significance of the site nearby. We also see Somerset St. with a streetcar passing where he resided. The Parliament Buildings, the Château Laurier and the National Research Council are all shown and all were pivotal locations for the story. There is a reference to the child of Igor and Anna Gouzenko born at St. Vincent's Hospital, which still stands in the neighbourhood where Gouzenko lived. I like the documentary style also used effectively in other films from that era, such as The House on 92nd Street, Naked City and the Wrong Man. The film noir look is typical of the era and suits the espionage story. Where the movie falls short, however, is in the characters of Igor and Anna Gouzenko as performed by Dana Andrews and Jean Tierney. I can certainly respect the choice of two accomplished actors for the roles; however, these Hollywood icons could not bear any resemblance to the Russian couple in the story. Their selection for the roles is quite a stretch for a movie that pays such close attention to other details. Nevertheless, I can see that two acting stars would attract attention to the movie and the story. For example, a Cold War museum outside Ottawa, built as a bunker for government leaders in the 1950's, features photos from the movie to highlight the story. As someone with a passion for Canadian history and movies, I have great affection for The Iron Curtain. I was very grateful for TCM bringing this little known movie to its viewers.
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