The story of Soviet cypher-clerk Igor Gouzenko who was posted to the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa,Canada in 1943 and defected in 1945 to reveal the extent of Soviet espionage activities directed against Canada.
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Soviet soldier turned bureaucrat Igor Gouzenko is assigned to his first overseas posting in 1943 to Ottawa, Canada, as a cipher clerk for the military attaché, their offices in a secret wing of the Soviet embassy. Igor is not to tell anyone what he does for a living, he given a cover story which he is to recite even when questioned by his own people. He and his wife Anna Gouzenko are supposed to be cordial to their Canadian neighbors and associates, but not fraternize or befriend them, as they are still considered the enemy, despite both countries being on the same side in the war. Igor follows his instructions to a T, but it is more difficult for Anna, who does not have the distraction of work during the day, and who can see that their neighbors are not their enemies but good people much like themselves. Over the next few years, Igor sees that what is happening around him and the work in which he is involved will not result in a world in which he wants to raise his newborn son, ...Written by
The music in the film became the subject of a minor but telling episode in the Cold War. Alfred Newman, the illustrious head of the 20th Century-Fox music department, scored this picture. It's not readily known who decided to incorporate genuine Soviet music into the film, but Newman's score featured compositions by the USSR's finest: Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Aram Khachaturyan and Dominik Miskovský. All four composers signed (or were ordered to sign) a letter of protest that claimed their music was appropriated via a "swindle" in order to accompany this "outrageous picture". No individuals were named, except "the agents of the American Twentieth Century-Fox Corporation". None of the composers would have had the opportunity to have seen the movie, thus it is to be assumed that they were put up to this protestation by the Stalin regime. Interestingly, the four "protesting" Soviet composers were at that same time under severe scrutiny themselves for composing music that was construed as subversive to the Soviet state, and for a time their heads were on the chopping block. So it's also to be assumed that the four filed this protest as a gesture of their loyalty to Joseph Stalin (or, more likely, to save themselves from being executed). In any case, these composers were often obliged to make "statements" that they personally had nothing to do with. Coincidentally, Hollywood at this same time was beginning to be scrutinized by the House Un-American Activities Committee for signs of "subversion" of the American state, resulting its its own blacklist. See Slonimsky, Nicolas "Music Since 1900" 5th Ed. p.1066-7 See more »
The invitation shown from the "Associated Friends of Soviet Russia" requests the "honor" of the recipient's company, and later a newspaper headline reads, "Rumor M.P. To Be Arrested In Spy Probe". As the film takes place in Canada, where British spellings are used, the words should have been spelled "honour" and "rumour". See more »
Dana Andrews is Igor Gouzenko, a Russian spy in Canada in "The Iron Curtain," a 1948 film based on a true story. Andrews plays a Russian during and after World War II who is sent to work as a code clerk for a ring in Canada; once the bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, the Communists become particularly interested in documents pertaining to it. Eventually his wife (Gene Tierney) joins him and tells him that she is pregnant. With the birth of his son, and the disillusionment of one of the ring (Eduard Franz), whose father was a great leader, Gouzenko slowly begins to realize that he's on the wrong side and decides that he and his family will not return to Russia. He steals important documents from his office with the idea of handing them over to the Department of Justice before his bosses realize what has happened, but fate plays against him. It becomes a race against time to get the documents into the right hands as well as save his family, even if he can't save himself.
Done in semi-documentary style, this is a pretty good propaganda drama with fine performances from an always attractive couple, Andrews and Tierney, and a great performance by Eduard Franz in a showy role. Andrews is one of the few leading men under contract at 20th Century Fox who was served well, particularly once Fox's biggest star, Tyrone Power, went to war; the hard-bitten roles Andrews played in many film noirs have given him a place in film history. Like both Power and John Payne, he was versatile, appearing in every type of film. Not realizing he was trained as an opera singer, the studio dubbed him in "State Fair" - they'd thrown so many non-singers into musicals, it never occurred to them he actually might be one. Alcoholism cut his star years short though he continued to work and speak on behalf of facing up to alcoholism. Tierney's career had its ups and downs due to her personal life as well, but in three films, they made a wonderful couple.
Toward the end, "The Iron Curtain" becomes quite intense and exciting. Well directed by William Wellman, it's worth watching though some may not like its definite propaganda bent.
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