My Son John (1952)

 |  Drama  |  8 April 1952 (USA)
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The Jeffersons are the ideal picture-perfect all-American family in a small town, but their eldest son John returns home after a long absence spouting views that cause them to worry he may be a Communist.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Lucille Jefferson
Dan Jefferson
John Jefferson
Minor Watson ...
Dr. Carver
Father O'Dowd
Chuck Jefferson
James Young ...
Ben Jefferson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Boy (scenes deleted)
David Bond ...
College Professor (scenes deleted)
Gail Bonney ...
Jail Matron (scenes deleted)
Russ Conway ...
FBI Agent (scenes deleted)
Bill McLean ...
Parcel Post Man (scenes deleted)
Frances Morris ...
Secretary (scenes deleted)
Erskine Sanford ...
Professor (scenes deleted)


John Jefferson comes home from a trip overseas a strangely changed man. His already nervous wreck of a mother is distraught by the way he seems to be feigning feelings for her and his father that he no longer has. Plus, his odd refusal to accompany the family to church on Sunday not only disturbs her but their priest as well. He also seems to be making fun of and smirking at his father's jubilant expressions of patriotism. His poor mother cannot imagine what could have caused such a change in her favorite son, who used to be loving and church-going and now seems remote from both. He also gets strange calls and goes off to strange "meetings" with no explanation. He is also being watched by an FBI agent who comes to the home and greatly disturbs John's mother with his odd questions about him. Eventually the horrible truth comes out: John is a Communist spy! No wonder he has no real feelings for his family and shuns the church he once loved!During a high-speed chase, John is killed, but ... Written by Michael Wisper

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Release Date:

8 April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mi hijo John  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Parts of the film were rewritten after actor Robert Walker (John Jefferson) died during production. Several scenes use a double shot from behind, and others recycle footage of Walker from Strangers on a Train (1951). The final scene, where a recording of John delivers an anti-communist speech, is lit with a halo around the tape-recorder. See more »


Edited from Strangers on a Train (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

So bad it's sublime
13 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I actually owned a bootleg 16mm copy of "My Son John" about 35 years ago and showed it as part of a "Sex, Drugs and Treason" festival on college campuses, along with "Pecker Island" and "Reefer Madness." "My Son John" is a movie which is almost comically awful, with Robert Walker swearing on the Bible that he's not a Communist; Dean Jagger singing "If you don't like your Uncle Sammy;" the Communists tapping the FBI's phones rather than vice versa; Robert Walker dying from a blast of a Commie machine gun after a geographically impossible chase through downtown Washington; the taped posthumous speech to a collection of frozen-faced graduates with warnings of "stimulants" leading to "narcotics;" and finally, Dean Jagger more or less telling Helen Hayes that their late son got what he deserved.

So bad, though, that it's absolutely sublime, sort of like a "Reefer Madness" of politics, with its stereotyped, one-dimensional characters and its glorification of authority figures. I must have shown this movie several dozen times within the course of two years, but I could never once refrain from watching it again. There is no other movie which quite captures the spirit of blind conformity to the ethos of the witch-hunt as does "My Son John." Finding this site by accident makes me want to track down my copy (I lent it to a friend 15 years ago and never got it back) and see if I can get it transferred onto a DVD. Seeing this movie is better than reading almost any conventional political history of this period. Easily an 8 on a 10 scale, even acknowledging that it's one of those Bizarroworld scales.

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