"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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
Aside from the issue of the fairness of the Moscow purge trials, or the truthfulness of the alleged confessions of the accused, the people shown standing trial together in the film in fact did not all stand trial at the same time. There were two such major show trials, one in 1937, the second in 1938, and the real life characters depicted in the film as being tried simultaneously were actually tried in separate groups at one of the two trials. See more »
Mrs. Marjorie Davies:
[to Madame Molotov]
Well, I imagine that women are much the same the world over. They all want to please their men.
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 »
aka "My Country 'tis of Thee"
Music from "God Save the King"
[In the score when Woodrow Wilson's bust is shown] See more »
Propaganda can be fun - this isn't!!!
I can understand the need for pro-allied propaganda when the outcome of the war was still uncertain, but this was pathetic. It's no surprise that Howard Koch was the screenwriter for this rather sorry effort to promote Soviet propaganda, or that he was later cited by the HUAC. Propaganda can be fun - try North Star or Days of Glory. This movie is not an effort to raise morale or promote a cohesive war effort. It's purpose appears to try to justify any and all the barbaric atrocities committed during the Stalin regime. Example: The show trials were interspersed with remarks by allied journalists approving of the same judicial perversion for which we condemned Germany at Nueremburg. We agreed with the Soviet position that Trotsky was responsible for undermining the good works of the Soviet. We blame ourselves for the Russo-German alliance. The fact that Russia absorbed half of Poland in payment isn't discussed. This movie actually claims it was strategic move to buy time. Davies (Walter Huston) spends the entire movie trying to convince us that the Soviet Union performed a miracle, 5 yrs at a time. Big business is portrayed as greedy capitalists anxious to do business with Germany and Japan in pursuit of the Almighty buck. Russia invaded Finland as an act of self defense etc, etc. The examples are too numerous to mention.
Michael Curtiz' direction, as usual, is exciting and flawless. It is this movies' only saving grace. The early scene when Davies arrives at the Hamburg train station was precious. There are Swastikas everywhere. In typical Curtiz style, shadow troops marched passed the camera. Mein Kampf was for sale everywhere. Pathetic deportees are on the platform - number tags on their chest - waiting for transport to the camps. Hitler Youth marching like toy soldiers. If you can put the politics aside (I couldn't) you can really enjoy the visuals.
But beware, there was a message to this madness.
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