Mission to Moscow

Mission to Moscow

Walter Huston
Director: Michael Curtiz Cast: Walter Huston
Walter Huston
, Ann Harding
Ann Harding
, Oscar Homolka
Oscar Homolka
Michael Curtiz

DVD (B&W / Full Frame)

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More so than most wartime films, Mission to Moscow must be viewed within the context of its times. Requested by President Roosevelt to make a film supportive of America's Russian allies, Warner Bros. turned to the memoirs of Ambassador Joseph H. Davies, who spent several years prior to WWII in the Soviet Union. As played by Walter Huston, Davies is a pillar of incorruptable integrity, reporting the facts "as I saw them" (only in later years was Davies revealed to be something less than a paragon of virtue who was willing to alter opinions for political, personal and financial expedience). Sent to Moscow by FDR as a means of finding out if Russia is a potentially trustworthy ally in case of war, Davies and his family are given the royal treatment by the Commissars, who display the social, technological, agricultural and artistic advances made under the Stalin regime. Invariably, the Russian citizens are shown to be singing, smiling, freedom-loving rugged individuals-in contrast to the Nazis, who are depicted as humorless automatons. In its efforts to present the USSR in the best possible light, the film glosses over the notorious Purge Trials of 1937, presenting the trials as scrupulously fair and the defendants as unabashed traitors to the Soviet cause. At one point, Russia's annexation of Finland in 1939 is "justified" by Davies' explanation that the Soviets merely wanted to protect their tiny neighbor from Nazi domination! It is unfair to label Mission to Moscow as Communistic or even left-wing, since it was merely parroting the official party line vis-a-vis US/Soviet relations in 1943. Even so, screenwriter Howard Koch found it very difficult to get film work after the war because of his contributions to this "Pinko" project (conversely, Jack Warner pulled a Pontius Pilate, washing his hands of the matter by insisting that he was strongarmed into making the film). Seen objectively, Mission to Moscow is top-rank entertainment, superbly and excitingly assembled in the manner typical of Warners and director Michael Curtiz. The huge cast includes Gene Lockhart as Molotov, attorney Dudley Field Malone as Winston Churchill, Maynart Kippen as a benign, pipe-smoking Stalin, Charles Trowbridge as Secretary Cordell Hull, Leigh Whipper as Hailie Selassie, Georges Renavent as Anthony Eden and Alex Chirva as Pierre Laval, along with the more familiar faces of Ann Harding (as Mrs. Davies), George Tobias, Eleanor Parker, Moroni Olsen, Minor Watson, Jerome Cowan, Duncan Renaldo, Mike Mazurki, Frank Faylen, Edward van Sloan, Louis-Jean Heydt, Monte Blue, Robert Shayne and even Sid (sic) Charisse. Original prints of Mission to Moscow include a 6-minute prologue delivered by the real Joseph Davies.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/20/2009
UPC: 0883316213391
Original Release: 1943
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Archives
Presentation: [B&W, Full Frame]
Time: 2:03:00
Sales rank: 33,547

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Walter Huston Ambassador Joseph E. Davies
Ann Harding Mrs. Davies
Oscar Homolka Maxim Litvinov
George Tobias Freddie
Gene Lockhart Vyacheslav Molotov
Eleanor Parker Emlen Davies
Helmut Dantine Maj. Kamenev
Frieda Inescort Mme. Molotov
Victor Francen Vyshinsky
Henry Daniell Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop
Barbara Everest Madame Litvinov
Dudley Field Malone Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Roman Bohnen Krestinsky
Maria Palmer Tanya Litvinov
Moroni Olsen Col. Faymonville
Minor Watson Loy Henderson
Vladimir Sokoloff Mikhail Kalinin
Maurice Schwartz Dr. Botkin
Jerome Cowan Spendler
Manart Kippen Joseph Stalin
Kathleen Lockhart Lady Chilston
Kurt Katch Semer Timoshenko
Felix Basch Dr. Hjalmar Schacht
Frank Puglia Judge Ulrich
John Abbott Grinko
Charles Trowbridge Secretary of State Cordell Hull
Leigh Whipper Haile Selassie
Clive Morgan Anthony Eden
Doris Lloyd Mrs. Churchill
Olaf Hytten Parliament Member
Arthur Gilmore Commentator
Pat O'Malley Irish-American
Jean del Val French Reporter
Frank Faylen Reporter
Eugene Borden French Minister
Rudolf Steinbeck German
Emory Parnell Speaker of House
Nino Bellini Italian Reporter
Joseph Crehan Reporter
Arthur Loft Man with Microphone
Tom Tully Engineer
Peter Michael German Reporter
Gino Corrado Italian
Albert D'Arno Frenchman
Mark Strong Englishman
Glenn Strange Southerner
Edward Van Sloan German Diplomat
Lumsden Hare Lord Chilston
Alexander Granach Russian Air Force Officer
Hooper Atchley Father
Pierre Watkin Naval Attache
Mike Mazurki Workman
Allen Jung Japanese Diplomat
Elizabeth Archer Elderly Woman
Al Kunde Father
Harry Cording Blacksmith
Cyd Charisse Specialty Dancer
Leonid Snegoff Kommodov
William Gould Isolationist
Lionel Royce Dr. Schmitt
Michel Panaieff Specialty Dancer
Edgar Licho Bookseller
Francis Pierlot Doctor
Frank Hemphill Grandfather
Tamara Shayne Russian Nurse
William Forrest American Newsman
Evelynne Smith Daughter
Robert C. Fischer Von Schulenberg
Betty Roadman Mother
Konstantin Shayne Nikolai Bukharin
Gene Gary Russian Foreman
Georges Renavent President Paul Van Zeeland
Isabel Withers Woman
Mauritz Hugo Hecklers
Richard Travis Paul Grosjean
Alex Akimoff Actor
Jack Young Actor
Michael Visaroff Actor
Henry Guttman Actor
Frank Wayne Actor
Sandor Szabo Actor
Sam Savitsky Actor
Ted Jacques Actor
Victor Wong Actor
Joan Winfield Actor
David Hoffman Actor
Frank Reicher Actor
Loulette Sablon Actor
Emil Rameau Actor
Ivan Triesault Actor
Jack Gardner Actor
Frank Ferguson Actor
Herbert Ashley Actor
Virginia Christine Actor
Monte Blue Actor
Daniel Ocko Actor
Luke Chan Actor
Bill Kennedy Actor
John Wengraf Actor

Technical Credits
Michael Curtiz Director
Robert Buckner Producer
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Bert Glennon Cinematographer
Peter Howard Screenwriter
Jay Leyda Consultant/advisor
Owen Marks Editor
LeRoy J. Prinz Choreography
Don Siegel Consultant/advisor
Max Steiner Score Composer
Carl Jules Weyl Production Designer

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