American journalist John Reed journeys to Russia to document the Bolshevik Revolution and returns a revolutionary. His fervor for left-wing politics leads him to Louise Bryant, then married, who will become a feminist icon and activist. Politics at home become more complicated as the rift grows between reality and Reed's ideals. Bryant takes up with a cynical playwright, and Reed returns to Russia, where his health declines. Written by
According to editor and executive producer Dede Allen, Warren Beatty first conceived making a movie about the life of John Reed around 1966, sixteen years before this film was first released. Reportedly, Beatty was vacationing in Russia during the 1960s when he met a woman who had been a lover of John Reed and who told Beatty of Reed's story. Later, it was around 1969-1970 that Beatty started learning the Russian language, allegedly so he could court the then married forty-four year old Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, whom reportedly he had become completely obsessed with. See more »
When Louise first comes to New York and finds John's apartment (during the time of WWI), some of the apartment windows behind her have air conditioning units. See more »
Was that in 1913 or 17? I can't remember now. Uh, I'm, uh, beginning to forget all the people that I used to know, see?
Do I remember Louise Bryant? Why, of course, I couldn't forget her if I tried.
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As the credits roll, additional interviews with the 'witnesses' play. See more »
Warren Beatty's Reds follows only Gone With The Wind in my list of favourite films. This movie is both a love story, and a documentary. It educates the viewer not just on John Reed and his comrades, but on WWI era society in general.
This brilliant script, (which, like the writings of Jack Reed expresses his political feelings with the same poetic eloquence as his love poems to his wife Louise), is interspersed with commentary from Jack's contemporaries, who tell the history from their own unique perspectives. As the truth of what was going on in that community is such an illusive thing, the only way to tell this story accurately was to show the often completely opposite view points of what was going on as told by the people for whom this history is a first hand memory.
The acting in Reds is breath taking. Every member of this, extremely large, cast committed fully to their characters. One feels a true connection to even those characters who lurked in the background with only occasional lines. The most notable performances were by Beatty himself, (who's embodiment of Jack Reed was incredible), Diane Keaton, (who portrayed all the facets of Louise's personality with stunning realism), Jack Nickelson, (who delivers O'Neil's quick witted dialogue with an almost frightening cynicism), and Maureen Stapelton, (who conveyed an amazing strength as Emma Goldman). While these actors were the most prominently featured, all the actors delivered noteworthy performances as far as I'm concerned.
The political history covered in this movie is nothing if not vast. This is proof of Beatty's most impressive knowledge of history. This is a film I would recommend be shown in schools, as one the most in depth study of American communism on screen to date.
Reds is truly an inspiration, and should be seen by every actor, director, writer, liberal, film maker, history buff & movie lover! You will not be disappointed!
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