America’s 1940s Pro-Soviet films: Social Realist Cinema in the USA

Counter Attack (1945) [Watch online]. Two Russians trapped in a collapsed building with seven enemy German soldiers during World War II.

Ashcan School

George Bellows, Cliff Dwellers, 1913, oil on canvas. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Platinum Blonde (1931). Stewart “Stew” Smith (Robert Williams), ace reporter for the Post, is assigned to get the story about the latest escapade of playboy Michael Schuyler. He marries the wealthy Anne Schuyler but then realises that he is no longer his own man.

American Madness (1932). At the Union National Bank, the directors are concerned because they think that bank president Tom Dickson has loaned too much money to people who are bad risks during the Great Depression era, and they threaten to replace him.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). The film is about a newly appointed United States Senator who fights against a corrupt political system.

The General Died at Dawn (1936). Tells the story of a mercenary who meets a beautiful girl while trying to keep arms from getting to a vicious warlord in war-torn China.

Marked Woman (1937). Tells the story of a woman who dares to stand up to one of the city’s most powerful gangsters.

1/ The Hollywood Ten (1950)

2/ Hollywood on Trial (1976)

3/ Blacklist: Hollywood on Trial (1995) (AMC Documentary)

4/ Red Hollywood (1996)

Virtuous Men (1919). When Bob Stokes, a wealthy New York clubman, loses his fortune, he is jilted by his fiancée Marcia Fontaine. He then wanders to an upstate lumber camp where he impresses the owner, Henry Willard, with his leadership and fighting abilities. After Stokes quells a strike engineered by the previous foreman, Robert Brummon, who is really a Bolshevik agitator, to prevent shipments of lumber for government contracts, Brummon, seeking revenge, sets the forest on fire, but Stokes controls it. Willard then sends for Stokes to oversee his New York shipyards where a government “mystery ship” is under construction. After Stokes and Willard’s daughter Helen fall in love, Brummon gets Marcia to attempt to seduce Stokes. Marcia lures Stokes to her apartment, where Brummon plans to kill him, but he escapes when he learns that a time bomb is set to destroy the ship. Stokes finds the bomb just before it explodes and throws it into the water. The saboteurs are captured, and together, Stokes and Helen watch the ship launch.Dangerous Hours (1919) is an American silent drama film directed by Fred Niblo. Prints of the film survive in the UCLA Film and Television Archive. It premiered in February 1920. The film was based on a short story “A Prodigal in Utopia” published in the Saturday Evening Post. The film’s working title was Americanism (Versus Bolshevism), which was the title of a pamphlet published by Ole Hanson, the mayor of Seattle who claimed to have broken the Seattle General Strike in 1919. The Great Shadow (1920) is an American silent drama film directed by Harley Knoles and starring Tyrone Power Sr., Donald Hall and Dorothy Bernard. Jim McDonald, the foreman of a shipbuilding plant and head of the labor union, strives to combat the anarchistic propaganda being put forth by Klimoff, the leader of a Bolshevik gang whose goal is to disrupt the country with strikes and anarchy. Despite McDonald’s efforts, a strike is called, resulting in chaos. McDonald’s child is knocked down by runaway horses abandoned by their striking driver, and dies. Mob scenes take place in America, as well as in Russia. Eventually, the unrest is quelled with an armistice called between Capital and Labor for a year, during which time wages are to be increased to reflect the cost of living, and leaders are to work out a common plan for their mutual advantage. The strikers now realize that they have been pawns of the Bolsheviks and call off the strike, agreeing to the plan.Trouble in Paradise (1932). High class European thief Gaston Monescu meets his soulmate Lily, a pickpocket masquerading as a countess. The two join forces and come under the employ of Mme. Colet, the beautiful owner of the Colet perfume company. Gaston works as Mme. Colet’s personal secretary under the alias Monsieur La Valle. Rumors start to fly as ‘M. La Valle’ steals Mme. Colet away from her other suitors. When the secret of his true identity catches up to him, Gaston is caught between the two beautiful women.Ninotchka (1939) is an American romantic comedy film. One of the first American films which, under the cover of a satirical, light romance, depicted the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin as being rigid and gray, in this instance comparing it with the free and sunny Parisian society of pre-war years.See also my article: You Can’t Lick the People: Individual and Collective Struggles in the Films of Frank CapraSee Abraham Polonosky 11:20 Red HollywoodThe post America’s 1940s Pro-Soviet films: Social Realist Cinema in the USA first appeared on Dissident Voice.

2022-07-26 | Documentaries, Movies, Propaganda | English |