Review: ‘Mission to Moscow’

Film is of a highly intellectual nature, requiring constant attention and thought if it is to be fully appreciated. It is pretty much in the nature of a lengthy monolog, with little action.

Film is of a highly intellectual nature, requiring constant attention and thought if it is to be fully appreciated. It is pretty much in the nature of a lengthy monolog, with little action.

It is truly a documentary; Hollywood’s initial effort at living history. Every character is the counterpart of an actual person. Real names are used throughout #Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Davies, Litvinov, et al and the casting is aimed for physical likeness to the person portrayed. The jolting realism of the likenesses is far from the least of the picture’s interesting aspects.

Outstanding in the tremendous cast are Walter Huston as Davies, Ann Harding as Mrs Davies, Oscar Homolka as Litvinov, Gene Lockhart as Molotov, Barbara Everest as Mrs Litvinov, Vladimir Sokoloff as Kalinin, and Dudley Field Malone as Churchill.

Film follows pretty much in chronological order from the time of Roosevelt’s appointment of the progressively-minded, capitalist-corporation lawyer Joseph E. Davies to the post of ambassador to Russia.

Manner of presentation of the film is the use of Huston’s voice off-screen, employing the first person, to describe his tours and many of the events. Then, where the action permits, the film lapses into regular direct dialog among the characters on the screen.

1943: Nomination: Best B&W Art Direction

Mission to Moscow

Production

Warner. Director Michael Curtiz; Producer Robert Buckner; Screenplay Howard Koch; Camera Bert Glennon; Editor Owen Marks; Music Max Steiner

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1943. Running time: 123 MIN.

With

Walter Huston Ann Harding Oscar Homolka Gene Lockhart Eleanor Parker Helmut Dantine

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