The Jeffersons are the ideal picture-perfect all-American family in a small town, but their eldest son John returns home after a long absence spouting views that cause them to worry he may be a Communist.
John Jefferson comes home from a trip overseas a strangely changed man. His already nervous wreck of a mother is distraught by the way he seems to be feigning feelings for her and his father that he no longer has. Plus, his odd refusal to accompany the family to church on Sunday not only disturbs her but their priest as well. He also seems to be making fun of and smirking at his father's jubilant expressions of patriotism. His poor mother cannot imagine what could have caused such a change in her favorite son, who used to be loving and church-going and now seems remote from both. He also gets strange calls and goes off to strange "meetings" with no explanation. He is also being watched by an FBI agent who comes to the home and greatly disturbs John's mother with his odd questions about him. Eventually the horrible truth comes out: John is a Communist spy! No wonder he has no real feelings for his family and shuns the church he once loved!During a high-speed chase, John is killed, but ...Written by
Despite saying he believes in the Bible, Dan Jefferson (Dean Jagger) makes a couple of errors in referring to it. It is a big fish, not a whale that swallowed Jonah, and 'Honor thy father and mother' is the fifth commandment, not the fourth, as he says. See more »
Somewhat paranoiac drama looking at the perceived communist threat in the 40s and 50s. Overwrought in both direction and performance-Helen Hayes in particular seems on the very verge throughout the film. Walker died suddenly during the making of the film and his performance was completed by cobbling together outtakes from Strangers on a Train and the use of a stand-in in some scenes, its easy to pick out most of the these and it cast an odd melancholy pall over the picture. More of an interesting artifact of a troubled time in US history than a good example of film making. McCarey could be an exceptional director who made many fine films and possessed a few Oscars but he is decidedly off his game here. A strange experience.
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