In conjunction with Temple Gallery’s Yevginiy Fiks show, Communist Conspiracy in Art Threatens American Museums, we’ll look at three different genres tied to Communism and the Cold-War themes: pro-Soviet films from the early 1940s, Red Scare films from the 1950s and 1960s, and recent works by filmmaker Jim Finn. The first of this series is Monday, September 20 at 6:00 pm in the Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, at 12th and Norris Streets, Philadelphia. The films are free to the public.
In this first set of films, we view two remarkable pro-Soviet films from the early 1940s:
Mission To Moscow (Michael Curtiz, 1943, 123 minutes)
Based on the memoir of the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Joseph H. Davies, this controversial drama was produced at the request of Franklin D. Roosevelt in an effort to drum up support for the Soviet Union during World War II. The US and the USSR were comrades during the fight against Hitler and Mission to Moscow is a fascinating look at early American-Soviet relations.
North Star (Lewis Milestone, 1943, 108 minutes)
Criticized when it was released in 1943 as being a pro-Soviet propaganda film, North Star is a war film about the resistance of Ukrainian villagers, through guerrilla tactics, against the German invaders of Ukraine. The film was rereleased in 1957 under the title of Armored Attack with several scenes deleted including idealized portrayal of Soviet collective farms and references to the 1956 Hungarian Uprising.