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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.

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

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

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Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

8 April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mi hijo John  »

Filming Locations:

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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 »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Great time capsule movie
28 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched it on TCM last evening; first time I've seen it in thirty years. Enjoyed it even more this time. Though Ms. Hayes turns on the tears a lot, there are also some finely nuanced scenes from her.

"My Son John" is neither mawkish or camp, my opinion. In context of the times, lack of any espionage storyline is easy to understand. Simply being a Commie was John's ultimate betrayal of his family; anything he did as Soviet agent was secondary to that.

A fun thing to watch for in this movie is the wealth of veiled references to Mrs. Jefferson's menopause all through the film. Heck, it even serves as sort of plot device in a climactic scene near the end.

Those seeking anti-Communist camp would be better served with John Wayne's "Big Jim McLain" released the same year.

"My Son John" is only partly a Cold War cautionary tale. It's mostly a family drama of inter-generational estrangement, with some education based class friction thrown in. Oh yeah, and LOTS and LOTS of menopause. I really enjoyed watching it.


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