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
The picture utilized two and a half million feet (762,000 meters) of film. Some estimates put it at three million feet (914,400 meters). This equates to about two-and-a-half weeks of screen time. One million feet are said to have been printed. The weight of the film stock shipped from England to the USA is believed to have weighed about four and a half tonnes. See more »
In the scene where Gene and Louise talk in Gene's apartment, the position of Gene's cigarette pack changes radically from shot to shot. 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 »
Reds, a succinct, controversial title totally typical of a major directorial outing by Warren Beatty. We always knew that Beatty was on the left, but a film glamourising a known Communist who defected to the USSR and is buried within the Kremlin. How the studios let him make it is a mystery to me, but I suppose that the name Warren Beatty was enough.
The film is long, and not for the light-hearted. It covers the broad canvas of early 20th Century American socialism. Concentrating first on Reeds efforts to form an American Socialist party, before moving to Russia; Beatty plays Jack Reed, the playboy writer, journalist and socialist. He opposes the war after initially supporting Wilson at the Democratic convention. After the Russian Revolution he becomes enamoured with the newly founded Soviet Union, as does his wife and sparring partner Louise Bryant, marvellously played by Diane Keaton who is excellent as the proto-feminist Bryant. Self-assured and very sexy, and her tragic love triangle between her, Reed and Jack Nicholson's character is brilliant. A number of other actors also crop up, including Paul Sorvino and M. Emmet Walsh.
One of the most important films of its generation, and every movie fan should make this compulsory viewing. Any aspiring left-wing intellectual should also make this compulsory viewing - there were Communists and Socialists in America, and one of them is even buried in the Kremlin. The USSR may be reviled these days, but you cannot deny the hope and utopianism that swept the world in those first few years after the 1917 Revolution. Beatty brings all this marvellously to the screen in Reds.
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