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I Was a Communist for the F.B.I. (1951)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 5 May 1951 (USA)
In Pittsburgh, PA, an F.B.I. agent works to undermine the Communist party, but his brothers and his teenage boy thinks he's a real Red.

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writers:

Crane Wilbur (screenplay), Matt Cvetic (article) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frank Lovejoy ... Matt Cvetic
Dorothy Hart ... Eve Merrick
Philip Carey ... Mason
James Millican ... Jim Blandon
Richard Webb ... Ken Crowley
Konstantin Shayne ... Gerhardt Eisler
Paul Picerni ... Joe Cvetic
Edward Norris ... Harmon (as Eddie Norris)
Ron Hagerthy ... Dick Cvetic
Hugh Sanders ... Clyde Garson
Hope Kramer Hope Kramer ... Ruth Cvetic
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Storyline

The FBI infiltrates one of their agents in the US Communist Party. This causes big problems in the normal life of the agent. Nobody knows that he is with the FBI, neither his family. Written by Luis Carvacho <lcarvach@lascar.puc.cl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

I had to sell out my own girl -- so would you! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Was a Communist for the FBI See more »

Filming Locations:

Pittsburgh ,Pennsylvania, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Lovejoy and Paul Picerni, who play brothers, would work again for Gordon Douglas two years later in 'She's Back On Broadway.' See more »

Goofs

Early in the film there's a shot at an airport where we see planes moving outside a window. The outside shot is flipped: the "PAN AMERICAN" logo on the side of the plane is backwards. See more »

Quotes

Gerhardt Eisler: This section produces more steel than all the rest of the country put together. Move Pittsburgh an inch and we can move this country a mile. But, er, Pittsburgh is too quiet, too peaceful. To bring about the victory of Communism in America, we must incite riots, discontent, open warfare among the people. That is the purpose of tonight's meeting.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood on Trial (1976) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Context, Context
8 February 2010 | by ResoluteGruntSee all my reviews

This film was released in the United States in May 1951, when I was a teenager. This was just five short years after World War II ended, and while nearly destroyed Europe and Asia were still being repaired and rebuilt under America's massive Marshall Plan. As a boy I had watched all the men in my extended family go off to war against nazism/fascism, and then saw only some of them return home. Now I was watching more young American men go off to war against communism.

The first of the many armed conflicts after World War II which became known as the 45-year-long East-West "Cold" War began already a year earlier in June 1950 when Communist North Korean forces, backed by Communist Russian forces occupying the north, drove south across the 38th parallel into US-military occupied South Korea. That aggression started the bloody Korean War, which still raged with high US military casualties when this film was being shown in American theaters. Both Communist China under Mao Zedong and Soviet Communist Russia under Stalin, along with the very ominously growing communist Warsaw Pact military alliance, represented very real threats to the United States and Western Europe - when this film was released. While it is true that the movie is a bit "over the top" by today's dramatic standards, it did have both a context and a purpose that definitely was not laughable.

Most responsible people in 1950 fully recognized that the Communist Party, along with its clandestine intelligence operators, was very active in the United States and benefited from considerable Chinese and Russian clandestine government support. That no one was certain of the degree of influence of the secretive Communist Party in the United States gave rise to much public, academic and media speculation, as well as the need for public education plus secret domestic intelligence and counter-intelligence operations to get a better fix on reality.

It is easy for Americans today who have lived their entire lives in historic safety and comfort to assume that it was all some sort of "unjustified scare" since the communists never succeeded in their objective of subjugating the United States. In 1950 I remember an America that was no more concerned with communist subversives than Americans today are concerned with extremist Muslim militants who might be engineering another 9/11. Threats can be real, but still not engender panic - if the people have faith in their government. But I also remember that in 1950 the United States was the only country of any significance that had been left still largely intact and undamaged after the Second World War. This made the US the last best hope against any further deterioration of freedom in the world, and thus the Number One Target of Communist expansionism.

Due in no small part to very active domestic vigilance, communism never had much success inside the United States. But communism was very successful in employing a wide range of deceptive and duplicitous tactics, including exploiting social discontent and infiltrating key political and social movements, to undermine many other countries.

Communism did succeed in thoroughly disrupting life for much of the planet and killing tens of millions of people over a very long period. Most of the atrocities which we today associate with right-wing extremism under Hitler's Nazism were in fact preceded by equal or greater left-wing extremist atrocities under Stalin's Communism. Those were indeed very dangerous times, and Americans in the 1950s who had spent their entire lives under extremely depressing and deadly times, from 1915-45, were naturally suspicious of and opposed to any extremist ideology that might send them, and their children, back into the abyss.


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