The story of Soviet cypher-clerk Igor Gouzenko who was posted to the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa,Canada in 1943 and defected in 1945 to reveal the extent of Soviet espionage activities directed against Canada.
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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 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 »
The embellished story of Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko is told here in the documentary style that 20th Century Fox popularized in the post World War II period with such other films as The House On 92nd Street, The Street With No Name and 13 Rue Madeleine. Gouzenko is played here in tightlipped fashion for an uptight man by Dana Andrews with Mrs. Gouzenko played by frequent Andrews co-star Gene Tierney.
Gouzenko was a security code clerk at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa and was an important conduit for top secret information both in and out of official diplomatic channels. During the Cold War it was a standard practice for the Soviets to use their embassies as places of espionage as well as diplomacy as did we. But this started during World War II when both sides were ostensibly allies.
Canada had its own role in World War II as an ally, an important supplier of troops and even more important guardian of the North Atlantic sea lanes for supplies. Their scientists worked on the Manhattan Project and the development of a super weapon certainly piqued Soviet interest. Just what were allies America and the United Kingdom working on?
When we meet Gouzenko he's a pretty firm true believer in the evangelizing mission of the Soviet state. But what was presented satirically in films like Ninotchka and Comrade X is done seriously here. The material prosperity of the west is something Andrews pretends not to notice, but Tierney isn't quite as self controlled.
The friendliness of neighbor Edna Best to Tierney and her infant son proves to be invaluable in the end. No wonder the Soviets tell Andrews to stand aloof from the ordinary Canadians. Random acts of kindness can sometimes really pay off.
A good cast of villainous types play various Soviet embassy and intelligence officials. Two should be singled out, a female seductress played by June Havoc who tests Andrews discretion and loyalty and comes up short. And Eduard Franz who plays another embassy official who becomes disillusioned with Communism and isn't so discreet about it.
For a Cold War era anti-Communist film, The Iron Curtain holds up well over 60 years later. How convenient of Winston Churchill to provide a title for this film with a famous speech in 1948.
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