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Mission to Moscow
IMDB Rating: 5.4/10 from 656 votes
Release: 22 May 1943 (USA) /

Mission to Moscow

Genre: Drama, History, War
Director: Michael Curtiz,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: "Mission to Moscow" was made at the behest of F.D.R. in order to garner more support for the Soviet Union during WWII. It was from the book by Joseph E. Davies, former U.S. Ambassador To Russia. The movie covers the political machinations in Moscow just before the start of the war and presents Stalin's Russia in a very favorable light. So much so, that the movie was cited years later by the House Un-American Activities Commission and was largely responsible for the screenwriter, Howard Koch being Blacklisted. Written by E. Barry Bruyea <[email protected]>

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Critic Reviews

Among the comments here I don't see much recognition of the fact that this propaganda film was released at the height of World War II, when the battle against Nazis was focused on Stalingrad, which arguably was the crucial battle of the war in Europe.

The context of this film cannot be ignored or minimized. Propaganda films are morale films, and the omissions and distortions which have been cited in Mission to Moscow are beside the point. Of course Stalin was a monster before, during and after World War II. Of course Joseph E. Davies was a naif, and a pompous one at that. Perhaps that's why he only lasted a year as ambassador.

On one hand, there is an absolutely ludicrous review here, praising Mission to Moscow as dispelling the terrible calumnies against the great Soviet achievements. On the other hand, there are those on the opposite side who, though far more accurate about Stalin and about how this film whitewashes his atrocities, seem so rabid in their responses, they fail to understand, or conveniently ignore, that propaganda films as documentaries are more or less bull, and that it's stupid to criticize a propaganda film because it's a propaganda film.

What is interesting about Mission to Moscow is not what it is trying to say or do, which requires little insight to divine, but how well it does it. This is a Hollywood "A" film enlisted in the service of propaganda. Top cast, direction and production values should have made for a very strong message to 1943 American audiences, whom the government wanted to think of the war against Germany as "We're all in this together."

As to the outrage of Stalin's show trials, I think that the sinister, menacing demeanor of one of the great Hollywood heavies Victor Francen as prosecutor Vyshinsky, versus the rather meek, contemplative demeanor of the defendants, suggests that the film knows what's going on, even if Davies doesn't.

Yes, the relentless pro-Soviet propaganda is a bit hard to take for those who sit smugly in the light of hindsight. But if you look at Mission to Moscow as document rather than documentary, you will gain an insight into the kind of public mindset called for by our government at a crucial moment in our history.

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