I am taking a guess about this production by the Hallmark Hall of Fame of THERE SHALL BE NO NIGHT, but it looks like the play has been updated. The play originally was produced on Broadway in 1940 and was a popular success, as it detailed the struggles of the Finnish people in the "Winter War" with Stalinist Russia. In the early years of World War II one of the critical errors that Joseph Stalin made in the euphoria he had over the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact was that he decided that the time was right to invade Finland and either totally recapture the country or regain certain territories that were useful to Russia as buffer zone lands from German invaders. It was a double mistake: first, Hitler saw nothing wrong with secretly sending military aid to Finland's Marshal Karl Mannerheim, and second, the British and Americans were avidly cheering on the brave Finns in their fighting. As a result of the invasion and war, it was harder in 1941 for FDR to convince many Americans to accept an alliance with Russia (then at war with Germany) when the Nazis declared war on us.
Finland eventually lost the Winter War, but it was not the cut-and-dry victory Stalin wanted. For one thing, Mannerheim was a good tactician, and he kept beating Russian attacks. But due to the fact that Finland did not have the resources by 1944 the Finns had to surrender. But by that time Stalin had to be careful with his international image due to dependence on the U.S. for military assistance. He took certain eastern territories from Finland, but not the whole country. In fact, after 1947. the Finns and the Soviets had an unofficial relationship where Russia could use the Finns as a "door" to the west in the growing Cold War.
The 1940 production had a wonderful cast, with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine as the mother and father of the family, and young Montgomery Clift as their son (who ends up joining the army). As the family uncle was Sidney Greenstreet, in his last major Broadway role before he went to Hollywood to be Casper Gutman in THE MALTESE FALCON.
But for some reason the names in this cast have been changed. The names are Hungarian, not Finnish, and my suspicion is that the play was rewritten to be set in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Still, the cast here is wonderful: Charles Boyer and Katherine Cornell as the father and mother, Bradford Dillman as the son, and the uncle now is Theodore Bikel. Also Gerald Hiken and Ray Walston are also in supporting roles. I am willing, despite never seeing it, to give the production an "8", especially as it has a cast including the great, but rarely filmed Cornell in a lead part. I really hope this production still exists, and can be rebroadcast one day.
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