5.6/10
428
31 user 14 critic

My Son John (1952)

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.

Director:

Writers:

, (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Good Sam (1948)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Sam Clayton has a good heart and likes to help out people in need. In fact, he likes to help them out so much that he often finds himself broke and unable to help his own family buy the things they need--like a house.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Gary Cooper, Ann Sheridan, Ray Collins
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

During the Chinese Civil War of 1949, the Communists constantly harass the two priests of a remote Catholic mission outpost.

Directors: Leo McCarey, David W. Orton
Stars: William Holden, Clifton Webb, France Nuyen
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Alison Kirbe of London, receives a telegram from Texas, that she has inherited a livestock ranch. It is plastered throughout the London newspapers that Alison has become a rich heiress, and... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Deborah Kerr, Robert Walker, Mark Stevens
Comedy | Fantasy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Fantasy comedy about a young window dresser who kisses a statue of Venus, which then comes to life in the form of Ava Gardner. The problems begin, however, when Venus falls in love with him.

Directors: William A. Seiter, Gregory La Cava
Stars: Robert Walker, Ava Gardner, Dick Haymes
The Milky Way (1936)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Timid milkman, Burleigh Sullivan (Lloyd), somehow knocks out a boxing champ in a brawl. The fighter's manager decides to build up the milkman's reputation in a series of fixed fights and ... See full summary »

Directors: Leo McCarey, Ray McCarey, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Adolphe Menjou, Verree Teasdale
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The sons of a Colorado cattle baron, one biological and the other adopted, resent one another and fight for control of their father's cattle empire.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Robert Walker, Joanne Dru
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

All about the citizens of Putnam's Landing and their reactions to an army missile base in their back yard.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Joan Collins
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers
The Clock (1945)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Soldier Joe Allen is on a two-day leave in New York, and there he meets Alice. She agrees to show him the sights and they spend the day together. In this short time they find themselves ... See full summary »

Directors: Vincente Minnelli, Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Judy Garland, Robert Walker, James Gleason
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An elderly couple are forced to separate when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents in.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Fay Bainter
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder - a theory that he plans to implement.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Journalist Marion Hargrove enters the Army intending to supplement his income by writing about his training experiences. He muddles through basic training at Fort Bragg with the ... See full summary »

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Robert Walker, Donna Reed, Keenan Wynn
Edit

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)
Bill McLean ...
Parcel Post Man (scenes deleted)
...
Secretary (scenes deleted)
...
Professor (scenes deleted)
Edit

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:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 27, 1952 with Dean Jagger reprising his film role. 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

Featured in Hearts and Minds (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
From The Mind Of Leo McCarey
27 January 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In viewing My Son John you have to keep a few things in mind. First Leo McCarey directed and wrote the film. Second Leo McCarey was a staunch anti-Communist and part of Hollywood's right wing caucus. Third Leo McCarey was also a devout and practicing Catholic. Fourth Leo McCarey was also one of Hollywood's bigger alcoholics. Put all that together and I think you've got the answer to how My Son John was created.

It's interesting to speculate how My Son John would have turned out if Robert Walker had lived to complete the film. Putting the patchwork ending on the film that he was forced to do left a lot of plot holes. For one thing, I'm not sure exactly why the FBI in the person of Van Heflin was on to Walker. He's a government bureaucrat, a high level one, but we never really learn what he did as a job and what he might have been doing for the Communists.

What Walker is is the oldest son of Dean Jagger and Helen Hayes as a representative a group of middle Americans as you can get. He's quite a bit older than his brothers and made a good academic record and now is a big success in Washington. His two jock younger brothers, Richard Jaeckel and James Young are about to go to war in Korea and he's back home for the family sendoff. You know right away something's amiss when he shows up late, not really having the heart to wish his brothers well in fighting against the Reds in Korea.

How do you spot a Communist? Well if you're Leo McCarey you've got to dislike the Catholic Church you've been brought up in. That's what Walker does, he makes snide remarks about the church and other wholesome American institutions. Man's got to be a subversive as his parents come to realize. Remember Pius XII was Pope at the time and he was a staunch anti-Communist. This is where McCarey's Catholicism comes into play.

How incredibly naive. If Walker were really an effective spy he'd be the loudest amen shouter in church, make the most obviously big contributions in the collection plate etc. to keep his cover.

Frank McHugh reprises his role from Going My Way as Father O'Dowd who apparently has left the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen New York and Barry Fitzgerald and now is pastoring out in the red states. Since McCarey also wrote and directed Going My Way and created McHugh's character he certainly could do what he wanted with him. But for the life of me I can't figure out why McHugh adopted a brogue for this film when he had none in Going My Way.

When Leo McCarey was creating some of the best screen comedy like The Awful Truth and Once Upon A Honeymoon, there were few his peer and none better. But he was out of his league in dealing with political material. And if you're wondering about how this might have turned out if Walker had lived, take a look at McCarey's last film, Satan Never Sleeps. Also an anti-Communist film it makes My Son John look like Citizen Kane.


14 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?