China Valdes joins the Cuban underground after her brother is killed by the chief of the secret police, Ariete. She meets and falls in love with American expatriate Tony Fenner. Tony ... See full summary »
China Valdes joins the Cuban underground after her brother is killed by the chief of the secret police, Ariete. She meets and falls in love with American expatriate Tony Fenner. Tony develops a plan to tunnel under the city's cemetery to a plot owned by a high official, assassinate him, and blow up the whole Cuban hierarchy at the ensuing state funeral. Together with a band of dedicated revolutionaries, they begin digging. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
One of the writers, Peter Viertel, wrote a chapter in his book Dangerous Friends about how he and John Huston wrote the screenplay for We Were Strangers, including two weeks in Cuba with Ernest Hemingway. According to Viertel, Hemingway suggested ending the film as it occurred in reality: with the death of the revolutionaries. Instead, an alternative ending was supplied by Ben Hecht. See more »
Amazingly radical, pro-revolutionary Hollywood film
This has to be the most radical, left wing film ever made in Hollywood. It is amazing that Huston and some of the other principals were not blacklisted afterwords; the McCarthy era was well underway in 1949 when the film was released. (Garfield was blacklisted, but not as a result of this particular film.)
This is a taut, suspenseful, exciting movie. But what stands out for me is that the central theme and focus of the story is the "need" to dedicate one's life to the overthrow of a dictatorship by whatever means necessary. I've never seen an American film so uncompromisingly pro-revolutionary. The heros of the film are guerrilla warriors planning a bombing that will kill dozens or hundreds of innocents along with lots of deserving government officials.
One significant drawback to this film is it's very extensive use of process photography, shooting the principal actors against background film shot on location. Whole scenes are shot this way and it's distracting.
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