Sunday, June 29, 2008

"My Son John" (1952) reviewed (briefly)

The HFA was kind enough to screen this 1950's anti-communist rarity a few weeks ago, indeed I think I've been waiting a full fifteen years to see it as it is unavailable on VHS or DVD or anything...hell even my favorite video bootleggers don't have it!
Well for once it was worth it, Helen Hayes plays a coying somewhat deluded middle class mom who slowly discovers her bright Ivy League educated son, the rising man in the State Department is in fact a Soviet Spy.
Unlike a a lot of the other anti-communist movies of the era, "My Son John" delves into the whole notion of Ivy League perfidy, that well educated young men were themselves vulnerable to KGB recruitment. Senator Joe McCarthy helped put this cliche on the map when he went after Secretary of State Dean Acheson and some of the allegedly bright young men around him back during the Korean War.
It's a sort of red-baiting soap opera enlivened by a strong performances from Hayes and the title star Robert Walker who died before shooting concluded. This required the director, Leo McCarey to use stock footage and out-takes from Hitchcock's "Strangers on the Train" to finish off the final reel! This is why "John" must deliver his final recantation before the graduating class of his alma mater via tape recorder complete with beatific spotlight on the machine as the late spy drones on about the possibility that they grads themselves were already under KGB surveillance.
Why this film isn't more generally available is a mystery to me....hell they don't make em' like this no more.

1 comment:

Ilja Doroschenko said...

Hi,

I am looking for that movie for months now. It could help with my final thesis in university.

Is there a chance, you had the movie recorded? Or have a copy of it that you could borrow/send me.

What is HFA? May be they can help me out.

Thank you.