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"Mission to Moscow" was made at the behest of F.D.R. in order to garner more support for the Soviet Union during WWII. It was from the book by Joseph E. Davies, former U.S. Ambassador To Russia. The movie covers the political machinations in Moscow just before the start of the war and presents Stalin's Russia in a very favorable light. So much so, that the movie was cited years later by the House Un-American Activities Commission and was largely responsible for the screenwriter, Howard Koch being Blacklisted.Written by
E. Barry Bruyea <email@example.com>
This film was often mentioned during the 1947 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in its investigation of alleged Communist "infiltration" of the motion picture industry and was chiefly responsible for the blacklisting of screenwriter Howard Koch. Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner defended the picture as being "made when our country was fighting for its existence, with Russia as one of our allies . . . The picture was made only to help a desperate war effort and not for posterity." See more »
Davies and the rest of the diplomatic corps are shown watching the 1938 May Day parade through Red Square. Some time later, at the farewell dinner being held in Davies's honor, Litvinov is handed a communique stating that Germany had just invaded and annexed Austria (the Anschluss). In fact Germany had taken over Austria on March 13, 1938, a full seven weeks before the May Day parade that in the film precedes the Anschluss. See more »
Opens with a card reading: We have the honor to present the former Ambassador from the United States to the Soviet Union, the Honorable Joseph E. Davies, who will address you prior to the showing of the film made from his important book, "Mission to Moscow". In the picture itself, Mr. Walter Huston portrays Mr. Davies during those vital years encompassed in his now significant report to this nation. And now, Mr. Davies: [Mr. Davies gives a presentation on the actual events leading up to these events, and to this film.] See more »
A useful antidote to much of the anti-Soviet propaganda by the conservative American press during the early years of the anti-Nazi war, though a bit overdone.
Self-professed "capitalist" and businessman Joseph Davies is sent to Moscow by President FDR just prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1939. His mission; assess the war-readiness of the Soviet people and the reliability of the Stalin regime as a potential ally.
What follows could be described as a "guided tour" of Soviet Russia, courtesy of the Kremlin. Davies embarks on a whirlwind inspection of Soviet farms, factories, schools and cities, all abuzz with the task of transforming a semi-feudal nation of serfs and peasants into a mighty world power. It is - as its critics claim - a heavy-handed glorification of the Soviet "workers" state under Stalin. At the same time, it is an early confirmation of what most recent historians have acknowledged; the Stalin regime, for all its flaws, was a popular regime with the Russian people with astounding achievements to its credit. Viewers, at any rate, can make up their own minds (a useful recent survey is *Stalinism as a Way of Life* - Yale U Press, 2000).
Walter Huston is effective as the droll, efficient Davies. Watch, too, for a plethora of uncredited "B" actors on screen for just a few seconds. Glenn Strange, Tom Tully and Kathleen Lockhart are familiar faces to fans of the thirties and forties and serve to jar us back to reality at critical points. The film is a useful antidote to the overwhelming and omnipotent anti-Sovietism of the Cold War, and should be taken as such.
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