5.6/10
435
31 user 14 critic

My Son John (1952)

Not Rated | | Drama | 8 April 1952 (USA)
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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, (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lucille Jefferson
...
Stedman
...
Dan Jefferson
...
John Jefferson
...
Dr. Carver
...
Father O'Dowd
...
Chuck Jefferson
...
Ben Jefferson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Boy (scenes deleted)
David Bond ...
College Professor (scenes deleted)
...
Jail Matron (scenes deleted)
...
FBI Agent (scenes deleted)
...
Parcel Post Man (scenes deleted)
...
Secretary (scenes deleted)
...
Professor (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mi hijo John  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Dan Jefferson: John!
John Jefferson: Oh, Father, let's not go into it any more.
Dan Jefferson: Now I've, I've got another subject for you.
Dan Jefferson: As your father, you and I are going to have a talk, a good talk, away from your Mother. And it's about you, son.
John Jefferson: Well, if you'd enjoy it, Father...
Dan Jefferson: Well, I don't know whether you will. But as I told you, we're alert. And we ARE alert.
John Jefferson: You just said that.
Dan Jefferson: Yes, and you sound to me like, like one of those guys that we should be alert about.
John Jefferson: One of those guys?
Dan Jefferson: I just said that you sounded like one, I didn't...
[...]
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
An Opinion Based on Suspicious Ignorance
1 March 2007 | by (Malaysia) – See all my reviews

Gentlemen,

Not having seen My Son John, I give it a rating of 10, based purely on suspicious ignorance.

I am suspicious of the criticisms.

One reviewer here says that the film is directed against those who would overthrow American middle class life, which is a strange trivialization of the animus informing Stalinist Communism, a political reality that had already murdered some 53 million people by the time My Son John was made -- the figure given by demographer Grigory Dyadkin in his Unnatural Death in the Soviet Union, 1928 - 1953.

Many of the reviewers appear to agree that this film as well as flagrant anti-Stalinism is bad, bad, bad, though they split a bit on the quality of the performances. One contributor attacks the entire career of Helen Hayes and has her at the nadir of her non-art in the film under discussion; another reviewer gives her performance a grudging nod. Same with Dean Jagger.

I suspect that the film is a good deal better than the politically motivated reviewers on this forum would have us believe. But even if the film stands out for its odoriferous fumes in a vat of year-old flounders, I don't care for the assumptions of several of the critics.

The truth is that although Hollywood has handled nazism well, it has never come to grips with the phenomenon of Stalinism -- its enormous death camps, its man-made famines, its surreal rendering of reality to a captive population. Some Jewish writers bemoan that the Holocaust has had no Solzhenitsyn to tell the story as he did of the Soviet camps across the three volumes and 2,000 pages that is the horror and gore of The Gulag Archipelago. The other side of the coin is that Hollywood has never attempted to render Stalinism and its mega-murder to a Western audience.

There is no film about Darkness at Noon; no dramatization of The Long Walk; no attempt to capture the despair of Kolyma Tales.

Let me suggest that a Hollywood producer might be able to make something of Viktor Kravchenko's I Chose Freedom. There is scope in the work for epic and plenty of pathos. It might work commercially.

Yours, Larry Parr Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


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