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Walk East on Beacon! (1952)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | June 1952 (USA)
A G-man searches for a communist sleeper-cell in Boston.

Director:

Alfred L. Werker (as Alfred Werker)

Writers:

Laurence Heath (additional writing) (as Leonard Heideman), J. Edgar Hoover (article) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Murphy ... Inspector James 'Jim' Belden
Finlay Currie ... Professor Albert Kafer
Virginia Gilmore ... Millie Zalenko / Teresa Henning
Karel Stepanek ... Alexi Laschenkov / Gregory Anders
Louisa Horton Louisa Horton ... Mrs. Elaine Wilben
Peter Capell ... Chris Zalenko / Gino
Bruno Wick Bruno Wick ... Luther Danzig
Jack Manning Jack Manning ... Melvin Foss / Vincent
Karl Weber Karl Weber ... FBI Agent Charlie Reynolds
Robert A. Dunn Robert A. Dunn ... Dr. Wincott (as Rev. Robert Dunn)
Vilma Kurer Vilma Kurer ... Mrs. Rita Foss
Michael Garrett Michael Garrett ... Michael Dorndoff / Frank Torrance
Lotte Palfi Andor Lotte Palfi Andor ... Mrs. Anna Kafer (as Lotte Palfi)
Ernest Graves Ernest Graves ... Robert Martin
Robert Carroll Robert Carroll ... Boldany
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Storyline

A G-man searches for a communist sleeper-cell in Boston.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

MOST THRILLING PICTURE SINCE "HOUSE ON 92ND STREET"! (original print ad - all caps)


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

June 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Louis de Rochemont's Walk East on Beacon! See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Company Credits

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

A sequence involving two Russian agents meeting covertly in a bar is underscored by Jack Shaindlin's song "I'm Tickled Pink" which is playing in the bar - the lyrics of which appear to add a comic overtone to the Communist-busting theme of the film. The exact same recording of the song is used in the popular video game "Fallout 3". See more »

Connections

Featured in Red Hollywood (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)
(uncredited)
Music by Juventino Rosas
Played at the restaurant
See more »

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User Reviews

Low-Key Propaganda
17 October 2013 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Produced at the height of the McCarthy purges, a still Stalinist Soviet Union, and the stalemated war in Korea, a movie like this should come as no surprise.

Apart from the political aspect, the movie's a rather plodding account of the FBI breaking up a communist network in Boston. The location filming really helps since it conveys the fashions and street realities of the day. The acting is almost uniformly low-key, as the two sides plot move and counter-move. Neither suspense nor drama is played-up; rather the camera acts more like a detached observer than a player. The docu-drama format also works to establish authenticity, especially to the more controversial political aspects. Overall, this detached element results in a movie more interesting than exciting or suspenseful.

Thankfully, the political side only gets heavy-handed occasionally. Some communists are even portrayed as recognizably human, a departure from the stereotypes of an 'I Led Three Lives" of the TV day. However, characters come and go with such frequency, it's often hard to keep track. Not surprisingly, the FBI is uniformly portrayed as clean-cut, understanding, and efficient, while the lead Soviet agent comes across in contrast as grim and icily efficient.

Despite it's many low-key aspects, the movie remains at bottom a propaganda film, which surfaces in FBI remarks such as, Every loyal American enjoys rights guaranteed by the Constitution (my paraphrase). This, of course, is meant to contrast with the totalitarian Soviets. However, it also conveniently ignores the systematic denial of those rights across the Jim Crow regions of the US, where Blacks were denied even voting rights. By the way, the Soviets made much propaganda use of this fact to their own audiences. My purpose here is not to equate the two Cold War sides, but to point out that the essence of propaganda consists in just such a selective use of facts. As the movie shows, we had ours, and, of course, they had theirs.

Incidentally, George Murphy fans may be disappointed since he gets comparatively little screen time. The real star in terms of screen time is Karel Stepanek, the lead Soviet agent. But few go to the movies to see a non-name like Stepanek. Anyway, in my little book, the 100-minutes holds more interest as an artifact than it does as an entertainment.


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