Reds (1981)

PG | 195-200 mins | Biography, Drama, Epic, Romance | 4 December 1981

Director:

Warren Beatty

Producer:

Warren Beatty

Cinematographer:

Vittorio Storaro

Production Designer:

Richard Sylbert

Production Companies:

J. R. S. Productions, Paramount Pictures
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HISTORY

Interspersed throughout the film are testimonials from thirty-two real-life “witnesses,” who offer recollections about “John Reed” and “Louise Bryant.”
       The development of Reds dates back to the 1960s, when filmmaker and actor Warren Beatty became interested in the biography and writings of American journalist and socialist John Reed, whose 1919 book, Ten Days That Shook the World, was an eyewitness account of the 1917 Russian revolution. A 22 Nov 1981 LAT article reported Beatty travelled to the Soviet Union in the late 1960s and met a woman who had been a close acquaintance of Reed. By the early 1970s, he was working on a script treatment and talking to other people who could provide impressions of Reed, his wife Louise Bryant, and the American Left movement in the early twentieth century. Among these first interviewees were Walter Lippman, Reed’s former Harvard University classmate and a noted left-wing journalist, and Roger Baldwin, who knew Reed as a neighbor in New York City and was a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. Several of these participants would later appear in the film as “witnesses.” In 1972, he contacted historian Robert A. Rosenstone, who was preparing a biography of Reed; Rosenstone served as historical consultant on the production, as noted in a May 2006 Vanity Fair editorial.
       Around the same time, a 7 Feb 1973 Var article reported that Beatty was approached to star in a Russian co-production about John Reed, to be directed by Sergei Bondarchuk, but the actor turned down the offer. He commented in a Mar 2006 Vanity ... More Less

Interspersed throughout the film are testimonials from thirty-two real-life “witnesses,” who offer recollections about “John Reed” and “Louise Bryant.”
       The development of Reds dates back to the 1960s, when filmmaker and actor Warren Beatty became interested in the biography and writings of American journalist and socialist John Reed, whose 1919 book, Ten Days That Shook the World, was an eyewitness account of the 1917 Russian revolution. A 22 Nov 1981 LAT article reported Beatty travelled to the Soviet Union in the late 1960s and met a woman who had been a close acquaintance of Reed. By the early 1970s, he was working on a script treatment and talking to other people who could provide impressions of Reed, his wife Louise Bryant, and the American Left movement in the early twentieth century. Among these first interviewees were Walter Lippman, Reed’s former Harvard University classmate and a noted left-wing journalist, and Roger Baldwin, who knew Reed as a neighbor in New York City and was a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. Several of these participants would later appear in the film as “witnesses.” In 1972, he contacted historian Robert A. Rosenstone, who was preparing a biography of Reed; Rosenstone served as historical consultant on the production, as noted in a May 2006 Vanity Fair editorial.
       Around the same time, a 7 Feb 1973 Var article reported that Beatty was approached to star in a Russian co-production about John Reed, to be directed by Sergei Bondarchuk, but the actor turned down the offer. He commented in a Mar 2006 Vanity Fair article that he felt a responsibility to make his own version that would free Reed from being “the exclusive property of the Soviet Union.” As noted in a 7 Sep 1983 Var review, the Bondarchuk project was later released in two parts, Red Bells: Mexico in Flames (1982) and Red Bells: I’ve Seen the Birth of the New World (1983), both starring Franco Nero as “John Reed.”
       While making Shampoo (1975) and Heaven Can Wait (1978, see entries), Beatty continued to research the John Reed story, as noted in a 30 Jan 1976 LAT interview. British playwright Trevor Griffiths revealed in a 30 Oct 1977 LAT article that he was working on the screenplay, but he later departed the project before filming began. Although Griffiths shared final onscreen writing credit with Beatty, several sources, including the 26 Mar 1980 DV, reported that his contribution was drastically altered once Beatty enlisted Elaine May to revise the screenplay and place more emphasis on the Reed/Bryant relationship. May, who had collaborated with Beatty on the Heaven Can Wait script, was reportedly involved in rewrites of Reds throughout the production, according to a 4 May 1981 LAHExam article. However, her contribution is uncredited onscreen.
       A 6 Dec 1978 LAT article stated that Beatty was “assembling a production staff,” but the project was still awaiting an official title and a studio commitment. He advertised in the 4 Mar 1979 LAT that he “would appreciate contact with anyone who knew” John Reed and Louise Bryant.
       On 31 May 1979, HR announced Beatty would direct and produce the project, now titled Reds, for Paramount Pictures, as well as star alongside Diane Keaton. Considering the profits of Heaven Can Wait, which earned $42.5 million in domestic rentals for Paramount and nine Academy Award nominations, the studio agreed to support his next endeavor, despite the financial risks of making an epic, historical story about an American communist, as noted in a 2 Dec 1981 LAHExam article. Reds would be Beatty’s first feature as a solo director, after having co-directed Heaven Can Wait with Buck Henry.
       Beatty indicated in the Vanity Fair article that Keaton, who was his girl friend at the time, was the first choice to play “Louise Bryant.” However, he initially deliberated whether to hire another actor to play John Reed and thought of John Lithgow for the role, in part because of his strong resemblance to Reed. Before casting Jack Nicholson as “Eugene O’Neill,” he considered Sam Shepard and musician James Taylor. A 2 Aug 1979 HR item mentioned that Beatty approached actress Simone Signoret about a part, but her involvement in the production could not be confirmed. Polish author Jerzy Kosinski, who wrote the screenplay for Being There (1979, entry), based on his 1971 novel of the same name, made his acting debut in the film, but he stated in the 17 Mar 1980 issue of New York magazine that he initially declined Beatty’s offer to play “Grigory Zinoviev.” He later expressed appreciation for the experience, telling the 5 Aug 1980 LAT that it was “the most challenging and stimulating two months of his adult life.”
       According to an 8 Aug 1979 Var brief, principal photography began 6 Aug 1979 in London, England, under a new working title, The John Reed-Louise Bryant Story. Previous alternate titles included Red Square, John Reed, Ten Days That Shook the World, and Comrades. However, the official title changed back to Reds during the course of production. The majority of the film was shot in Europe. The filmmakers built interiors on the London-area soundstages of Twickenham Film Studios and EMI Studios, as noted in the 26 Dec 1979 Var and the 6-12 Aug 1980 Village Voice. Reportedly, the “Kremlin” set at EMI had to be reconstructed when Beatty decided he was unhappy with the original footage he shot there. After officials in the Soviet Union denied a request to film in Moscow, the production arranged to capture winter sequences and “Russian” exteriors in Helsinki, Finland, and other areas of the country, according to reports in the 11 Jun 1979 HR and the 26 Dec 1979 Var. On 25 Jun 1980, Var stated that the production had relocated to Segovia and Granada, Spain. After nearly a year in production, a 30 Jul 1980 Var article announced that Reds completed filming at EMI Studios, ahead of a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike.
       However, Beatty continued to film scenes in the U.S. with the principal cast later that year and the following year. According to an 18 May 1981 LAHExam column, his contract allowed for additional filming if necessary, following the completion of principal photography. Articles from the 31 Dec 1980 DV and the 3 Jun 1981 Var reported that the production shot scenes in Washington, D.C. and New York City during Dec 1980, followed by a week of soundstage work at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA, and some location filming in the Los Angeles, CA, area from 7 May 1981 to 15 May 1981. However, Italian director of photography Vittorio Storaro was banned from the Los Angeles-area filming by Local Union 659. Unable to obtain a H-1 visa to work on Reds, Storaro appealed to the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and noted that he had recently been granted the necessary paperwork to work on One From the Heart (1982, see entry) at Zoetrope Studios in Hollywood. However, the issue was not resolved by the time Reds began the Los Angeles shoot and Storaro’s presence on set was limited to “giving advice,” prohibiting him from touching equipment and looking through the camera lens. In the Vanity Fair article, production designer Richard Sylbert stated that the total amount of filming time was approximately fifty weeks.
       Editor Dede Allen received an additional onscreen credit as executive producer, reflecting her significance to Reds beyond the editing room. As stated in articles from the 14 Dec 1980 NYT and the 3-9 Feb 1982 Village Voice, Beatty was reluctant to proceed with shooting until she committed to the project. The two had previously collaborated on Bonnie and Clyde (1967, see entry). Allen and her editing crew started their work with assembling the witness interviews, which were shot from 1979 through 1982, according to the 4 Apr 1982 LAT. Storaro filmed these testimonials in several locations, including New York City, Los Angeles, and London. Once principal photography began in England, Allen set up an editing office there, while her New York editing team continued to organize the witness material and prepare for the influx of dramatic footage from Europe. She hired Craig McKay as co-editor in Apr 1980. Allen incorporated a video system that she had acquired from Stanley Kubrick, enabling her and McKay to facilitate the process of making “trial edits” and working on different versions of a scene. The Village Voice and NYT articles mentioned that approximately 700,000 feet of film was shot during the location and soundstage work, but the Vanity Fair article suggested the total was closer to 2.5 million feet, which would have exceeded the reported footage estimates of Apocalypse Now (1979) and Heaven’s Gate (1980, see entries). The tight publicity restrictions on Reds was an attempt to avoid discussing figures that would encourage talk of another “out-of-control” production.
       The budget was the number most frequently subject to rumors. At the start, production costs were estimated at $20 million, according to the 26 Mar 1980 DV article, but that figure reached $30 million as principal photography drew to a close in Europe. The rumored issues that contributed to overruns included: two camera crews on the payroll, a working Italian crew which was hired by Vittorio Storaro, and an idle British crew that was required by the local union in England; excessive takes; and a high shooting ratio of 35 to 1. Additionally, American actors were cast in minor roles and flown to the set in England. In exchange for allowing U.S. performers to work on British soil, the production agreed to pay SAG rates to British Equity talent. By the time the picture was released, Paramount’s official budget figure was $33.5 million, but several sources, including the 2 Dec 1981 LAHExam, speculated that costs could be as high as $50 million, after factoring in distribution expenses.
       The 30 Nov 1981 DV explained that Reds was part of a new financing arrangement between Paramount and Barclays Bank in England that reduced the studio’s upfront investment. Barclays was the actual owner of the film and appears on the copyright as Barclays Mercantile Industrial Finance, Ltd., while Paramount leased the film and would pay back the costs to Barclays over a “long term” period at reduced interest rates. The studio was responsible for publicity and print expenses, but would collect distribution revenues. DV described the financing as a “glorified loan” rather than an investment by Barclays. In the Vanity Fair article, Barry Diller, Paramount’s chairman and chief executive officer at the time, recalled that the Barclays “tax-shelter” arrangement also involved “a currency deal, hedging pounds against dollars, which went Paramount’s way.” He claimed Reds had made a profit by the time it was released.
       In the weeks leading up to the 4 Dec 1981 nationwide opening, speculation in the press increased. A 23 Oct 1981 LAT item reported Beatty was still editing, and Paramount was trying to convince him to work on color correction in the U.S., rather than in Rome, Italy, with Vittorio Storaro. The news item also mentioned that a four-and-a-half-minute trailer for the film was “booed” at a Los Angeles theater on 18 Oct 1981. Paramount dismissed the rumors in a 5 Nov 1981 NYT article, stating that the trailer had been well received since it began running in 5,000 theaters during Sep 1981, and that Beatty was not prevented from supervising the prints in Rome. NYT suggested that the filmmaker’s “reclusiveness” had fostered the controversy surrounding the picture. With little press coverage prior to the release, the 2 Dec 1981 LAHExam reported on the “unbreachable secrecy” in place since the production began. Meanwhile, Paramount remained confident in the film’s ability to create awareness quickly, and used the trailers to underline the three stars and the story’s romance, rather than its political context.
       Screenings for exhibitors were planned for 11 Nov 1981, which would mark the first time “outsiders” would view the film, according to the 13 Nov 1981 LAT. At the last minute, Paramount marketing postponed the screenings to 18 Nov 1981 to give theater owners a chance see the finished print rather than a “work print.” Some states required that theater owners have the opportunity to view the film before bidding on it, but because the screening date was just sixteen days from the opening, most exhibitors had already made a decision whether to book Reds. Although Paramount was still on schedule to release the film to the public, an 18 Nov 1981 Var article reported that the postponement of the exhibitor screenings fueled persistent rumors about the commercial prospects for an expensive picture with a duration of approximately 200 minutes and an intermission. When theater owners finally viewed Reds, the 20 Nov 1981 LAT reported they were impressed by the production value, performances, and love story, but had reservations about the political theme and length, which only allowed for one showing per night at most locations.
       A special “preview” for invited guests was held at Mann’s Westwood National Theater in Los Angeles on 1 Dec 1981, as reported in the 3 Dec 1981 LAHExam, and an equivalent event was scheduled to take place in New York on 2 Dec 1981, according to the 30 Nov 1981 HR. Beatty and the other cast leads did not attend, but Beatty’s meticulousness was still evident as he stopped by the National Theater to check on sound and projection, according to the 8 Dec 1981 LAT. As reported in an 8 Dec 1981 LAHExam article, he and Keaton were present at a White House screening on 5 Dec 1981 for President Ronald Reagan.
       Following the exhibitor screenings, Paramount received more booking requests and was able to increase the number of opening day theaters to approximately 400, followed by at least another 400 around mid-Dec 1981, which the 22 Nov 1981 LAT described as an “unusually wide” release for an “event” picture with the ambitious subject matter and running time of Reds. The opening weekend gross of $2.4 million did not rank with blockbuster numbers, but Paramount executives were pleased, considering the lengthy picture had half the showings per day compared to other films, and a blizzard kept audiences away in the Northeast. The initial box-office and rave reviews quelled lingering doubts that Reds would be another failure like Heaven’s Gate. However, as earnings slipped toward “disappointing” in the second and third weekend, the debate remained, as indicated in the 7 Jan 1982 DV, about whether Paramount should have presented Reds as an exclusive or limited release in a few major cities to build awareness first, a strategy known as platforming. After a month in release though, the box-office gained momentum and reached $18.2 million to secure Reds among the top grossing films that holiday season. Based on strong word-of-mouth and publicity from upcoming motion pictures awards, Paramount expected the film to continue to build an audience and planned for an additional theater expansion in Feb 1982.
       Reviews were mostly favorable. The 4 Dec 1981 NYT called Reds “an extraordinary film, a big romantic adventure movie, the best since David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962, see entry),” while the 30 Nov 1981 HR praised it as “the single most important, creative and original American production since Citizen Kane (1941, see entry).” Several critics, however, faulted Beatty’s decision not to identity the thirty-two witnesses as they appeared onscreen, but rather to simply list their names in the credits. The 4 Dec 1981 LAT described the omission as the “worst disservice.” Beatty was concerned that identifying the faces would be “distracting,” according to a 4 Apr 1982 LAT article. As part of the original promotion plan for the film, Paramount distributed placards, or “standees,” for display in the theater lobbies, which provided a photograph and biography of each witness, as explained in a 29 Jan 1982 DV article.
       As announced in DV articles from 15 Dec 1981 and 22 Dec 1981, the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics voted Reds best picture. It shared the honor with the British film, Chariots of Fire, at the National Board of Review awards. Reds received twelve Academy Award nominations, the most of any film from 1981. The picture was nominated in the following categories: Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (Warren Beatty), Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Nicholson), Actress in a Leading Role (Diane Keaton), Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing, Sound, and Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen). It won three Academy Awards for: Actress in a Supporting Role (Maureen Stapleton), Cinematography, and Directing. Reds ranked #9 on AFI’s 2008 10 Top 10 list for the epic genre, and #55 on AFI’s 2002 100 Years…100 Passions.
       According to articles from the 19 Mar 1982 DV and the 20 Mar 1982 LAT, Beatty and Paramount Pictures were sued for approximately $20 million by authors William M. Greene and Helen Smith for appropriating their research on Louise Bryant. Reportedly, Beatty met with Greene in 1973 and arranged a $250 contract for rights to the Bryant material, with a promise for “additional compensation” after the film’s completion. A 10 Oct 1985 NYT article revealed that Beatty and Greene settled the lawsuit out-of-court, but the terms were not disclosed.
       On 16 Apr 1985, LAT announced that the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) would be required to show Reds on television in its entirety. Beatty won the arbitration decision after the network insisted on editing ten to twelve minutes from the original version to avoid interrupting the 11:00 p.m. local news. Although the network was permitted to edit for language and nudity, the arbitrator determined that ABC could not make cuts for time, since Beatty retained the right of “final cut” from Paramount Pictures. The Directors Guild of America (DGA), which lodged the complaint on Beatty’s behalf, called the outcome a “landmark victory” in a 17 Apr 1985 NYT article. As a result, the network cancelled the $6.5 million contract to broadcast the film. When Beatty and the DGA held a press conference to address questions regarding the arbitration, they stated that ABC’s proposed edits were approximately sixteen minutes, as reported in a 18 Apr 1985 LAT article.
       On 17 Oct 2006, Reds debuted on DVD in a 25th anniversary edition, giving Beatty an opportunity to discuss the film in the press, which he avoided during the production and release. The occasion was also marked by a special screening at the New York Film Festival and week-long engagements at theaters in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C., as mentioned in the 28 Sep 2006 HR. After watching the film with an audience at the DGA theater, Beatty commented to the 17 Oct 2006 LAT that Reds was “more accessible now than it was then,” noting that “the jokes were clearer, the remarks more resonant.”
       End credits state: “Photographs courtesy of Culver Pictures, Inc. (New York City); Granger Archives (New York City); The Museum of the City of New York; The New York Historical Society”; and, “The producers would like to thank the people of: London, Sussex, Lincolnshire, Greater Manchester - England; Helsinki, Rovaniemi, Kemijarvi; Ivalo - Finland; Madrid, Segovia, Seville, Guadix, Villa Canjas - Spain; New York, Washington, Los Angeles; Twickenham Film Studios, EMI Studios - England; Paramount Studios, Zoetrope Studios - Hollywood; The Finnish State Railways; The Spanish State Railways (Renfe) for their kind cooperation during the making of this film.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1980
p. 15.
Daily Variety
31 Dec 1980.
---
Daily Variety
30 Nov 1981.
---
Daily Variety
15 Dec 1981.
---
Daily Variety
22 Dec 1981
p. 1, 15.
Daily Variety
7 Jan 1982
p. 1, 46.
Daily Variety
29 Jan 1982.
---
Daily Variety
12 Feb 1982
p. 1, 22.
Daily Variety
19 Mar 1982
p. 1, 39.
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1981
p. 3, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 2006
p. 17.
LAHExam
4 May 1981.
---
LAHExam
18 May 1981.
---
LAHExam
2 Dec 1981
Section B, 1, 4.
LAHExam
3 Dec 1981
Section B, p. 4.
LAHExam
8 Dec 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Jan 1976
Section E, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1977
Section Q, p. 56, 63.
Los Angeles Times
6 Dec 1978
Section IV, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
4 Mar 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Aug 1980
Section G, p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
23 Oct 1981
Section J, p. 1, 9.
Los Angeles Times
13 Nov 1981
Section VI, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
20 Nov 1981
Section I, p. 1, 27.
Los Angeles Times
22 Nov 1981
Section N, p. 26.
Los Angeles Times
4 Dec 1981
Calendar, p. 1, 2.
Los Angeles Times
8 Dec 1981
Section G, p. 1, 2.
Los Angeles Times
20 Mar 1982
Section E, p. 1, 3.
Los Angeles Times
4 Apr 1982
Section K, p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
16 Apr 1985
Section E, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
18 Apr 1985
Section K, p. 1, 12.
Los Angeles Times
17 Oct 2006.
---
New York
17 Mar 1980.
---
New York Times
14 Dec 1980
Magazine, p. 129+.
New York Times
5 Nov 1981
Section C, p. 28.
New York Times
4 Dec 1981
p. 8.
New York Times
17 Apr 1985
Section C, p. 26.
New York Times
10 Oct 1985
Section C, p. 25.
Vanity Fair
Mar 2006.
---
Vanity Fair
May 2006.
---
Variety
7 Feb 1973
p. 29.
Variety
8 Aug 1979.
---
Variety
26 Dec 1979.
---
Variety
25 Jun 1980.
---
Variety
30 Jul 1980.
---
Variety
3 Jun 1981
p. 7, 42.
Variety
18 Nov 1981.
---
Variety
2 Dec 1981
p. 16.
Variety
7 Sep 1983
p. 20.
Village Voice
6-12 Aug 1980.
---
Village Voice
3-9 Feb 1982
p. 50.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
The Witnesses:
Co-Starring:
Co-Starring:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Paramount Pictures Presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
Prod mgr, Spanish unit
2d unit dir, Spanish unit
1st asst dir, Spanish unit
2d asst dir, Spanish unit
Prod mgr, Finnish unit
Asst dir, Finnish unit
2d asst dir, Finnish unit
Prod mgr, New York-Washington unit
1st asst dir, New York-Washington unit
2d asst dir, New York-Washington unit
Prod mgr, California unit
1st asst dir, California unit
1st asst dir, California unit
2d asst dir, California unit
2d asst dir, California unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Focus puller
Clapper/Loader
Cam grip
Stills photog
Supv elec
Supv elec
Best boy
2d unit clapper/Loader
2d unit cam op
2d unit cam asst
2d unit cam asst
2nd unit grip
Video apprentice
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Art dir, Spanish unit
Art dir, Finnish unit
Photog illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Spec seqs film ed
Assoc film ed
Assoc film ed
Visual eff ed
Addl film ed
Addl film ed
Addl film ed
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Ed video tech
Addl British asst film ed
Addl British asst film ed
Addl British asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Prod buyer
Const mgr
Prop master
Chargehand props
Chargehand props
Chargehand dressing props
Drapes
Sketch artist
Lettering artist
Scenic artist
Chargehand carpenter
Chargehand carpenter
Chargehand carpenter
Chargehand plasterer
Chargehand rigger
Set dec, New York-Washington unit
Set dec, California unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Asst to cost des
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward master, Spanish unit
Ward, New York-Washington unit
Ward, New York-Washington unit
Cost supv, California unit
MUSIC
Orig mus by
Addl mus
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus rec
Mus supv and cond
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd boom op
Sd eng
Sd tech
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Assoc sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Sd mixer, New York-Washington unit
Sd mixer, California unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff, Spanish unit
Titles by
DANCE
Choreog
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hair stylist
Hair stylist
Makeup artist, New York-Washington unit
Hair stylist, New York-Washington unit
Makeup artist, California unit
Hair stylist, California unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv and spec consultant
Supv loc mgr
Casting
Casting
American casting
American casting
American casting
Prod accountant
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Secy to the prod
Crowd casting asst
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Transportation
Transportation
Transportation
Runner
Loc mgr, Spanish unit
Wrangler, Spanish unit
Prod consultant, Finnish unit
Unit mgr, Finnish unit
Accountant/Prod secy, Finnish unit
British apprentice
Post prod accountant and admin
Post prod coord
Photo col treatments
Spec consultant
Historical consultant
Post prod researcher
Post prod language consultant
Russian graphics research
Addl research
Addl research
Prod office coord, New York-Washington unit
Scr supv, California unit
Casting, California unit
Casting, California unit
Spec asst, California unit
Extras casting, California unit
Extras casting, California unit
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“You’re A Grand Old Flag,” by George M. Cohan
“Over There,” by George M. Cohan
“Yankee Doodle Boy,” by George M. Cohan
+
SONGS
“You’re A Grand Old Flag,” by George M. Cohan
“Over There,” by George M. Cohan
“Yankee Doodle Boy,” by George M. Cohan
“Onward Christian Soldiers,” by S. Baring-Gould & A. Sullivan
“Waiting For The Robert E. Lee,” by L. Wolfe Gilbert & Louis F. Muir
“Liebesfreud,” by Fritz Kreisler
“I Don’t Want To Play In Your Yard,” words by Philip Wingate, music by H.W. Petrie
“Oh, You Beautiful Doll,” by A. S. Brown & Nat D. Ayer
“America The Beautiful,” by Katherine L. Bates & Samuel A. Ward
“St. Louis Tickle,” by Barney & Seymore & Glen Snelgrove
“Dill Pickles,” by Charles L. Johnson
“Rattlesnake Rag,” by Louis F. Bush & Eddy Hanson
“Stop Your Ticklin’ Me,” by Jack Little & Walter Hirsch
“The Crazy Otto Rag,” by Edward R. White & Maxwell A. Wolfson & Luigi Creatore & Hugo E. Peretti
“Cartoon Rag,” by Michael Karp
“Country Club-Ragtime Two-Step,” by Scott Joplin, performed by Joshua Rifkin, courtesy of Nonesuch Records
“Just A Little Love Song,” by Joseph Young, Sammuel M. Lewis and Joe Cooper
“The Internationale,” Pierre Degeyter and Eugene Pottier
“The Red Army Is The Most Powerful Of All,” Moscow Radio Chorus recording courtesy of Folkways Records
“The Engine,” Moscow Radio Chorus recording courtesy of Folkways Records.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The John Reed-Louise Bryant Story
John Reed
Ten Days That Shook the World
Red Square
Comrades
Release Date:
4 December 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 December 1981
Production Date:
6 August 1979--late July 1980
Additional filming: December 1980 and 7-15 May 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Barclays Mercantile Industrial Finance, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
4 March 1982
Copyright Number:
PA129501
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses & Cameras by T.C. Technovision Ltd.
Duration(in mins):
195-200
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26524
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1915 Portland, Oregon, aspiring journalist Louise Bryant Trullinger attends a meeting at the Liberal Club and is intrigued when the guest of honor, noted progressive writer John “Jack” Reed, states that the current war in Europe is only about “profits.” While Jack is in town to promote his magazine, The Masses, Louise convinces the handsome journalist to grant her an interview. Attracted to the earnest young woman, Jack forgets the time as he discusses his anti-war position all night. When they encounter each other later at a dinner party, Jack is surprised to learn that the seemingly independent Louise is married to a dentist. Once they are alone again, Louise propositions Jack, and the two sleep together. He invites her to return with him to New York City, describing the trip as an opportunity to have freedom and to be around other writers. Although concerned about being perceived as a “mistress” or “girl friend,” Louise abandons her husband and arrives at Jack’s apartment in Greenwich Village. There, she meets his circle of friends, artists, and fellow radicals, including Emma Goldman, Max Eastman, and the playwright Eugene O’Neill. However, Louise struggles to find her place among the intellectual conversations. She is disheartened as Jack frequently leaves to report on workers’ rights around the country, and is annoyed by his friends who come and go from the apartment as they please. While Jack accuses Louise of not writing “serious” articles, he faces criticism from an editor for reporting “red” communist propaganda. In an effort to pursue their interests ... +


In 1915 Portland, Oregon, aspiring journalist Louise Bryant Trullinger attends a meeting at the Liberal Club and is intrigued when the guest of honor, noted progressive writer John “Jack” Reed, states that the current war in Europe is only about “profits.” While Jack is in town to promote his magazine, The Masses, Louise convinces the handsome journalist to grant her an interview. Attracted to the earnest young woman, Jack forgets the time as he discusses his anti-war position all night. When they encounter each other later at a dinner party, Jack is surprised to learn that the seemingly independent Louise is married to a dentist. Once they are alone again, Louise propositions Jack, and the two sleep together. He invites her to return with him to New York City, describing the trip as an opportunity to have freedom and to be around other writers. Although concerned about being perceived as a “mistress” or “girl friend,” Louise abandons her husband and arrives at Jack’s apartment in Greenwich Village. There, she meets his circle of friends, artists, and fellow radicals, including Emma Goldman, Max Eastman, and the playwright Eugene O’Neill. However, Louise struggles to find her place among the intellectual conversations. She is disheartened as Jack frequently leaves to report on workers’ rights around the country, and is annoyed by his friends who come and go from the apartment as they please. While Jack accuses Louise of not writing “serious” articles, he faces criticism from an editor for reporting “red” communist propaganda. In an effort to pursue their interests with less distraction, the couple escapes the city for a seaside cottage in Provincetown, Massachusetts. There, they hang out with bohemian friends and stage experimental plays written by O’Neill. When Jack leaves to report on the Democratic National Convention, Louise has an affair with the attentive playwright. The night Jack returns, he sees Louise and O’Neill kissing, but says nothing. Instead, he asks Louise, by now divorced from Trullinger, to marry him. In 1916, the newlyweds move to a house in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. While Jack is away, the heartbroken O’Neill stops by to give Louise a love poem, but she dismisses the chance to resume their affair and hides the poem inside the book, Leaves of Grass. As Jack continues to campaign against U.S. involvement in the war, he experiences kidney problems and is advised to rest. At home one night, he finds O’Neill’s love poem and suggests to Louise that he has also been unfaithful. In the middle of their heated quarrel, she packs a suitcase and walks out. Determined to free herself from Jack’s shadow, she accepts an assignment from Bell Syndicate in 1917 and writes about the war from Paris, France, while Jack undergoes surgery to remove his damaged kidney. In her correspondence, Louise describes her job in France as “exhilarating.” However, Jack later learns from editor Pete Van Wherry that Louise was fired for not submitting substantial stories. He travels to France and invites her to join him in Petrograd, Russia, to report on a potential workers’ revolution by the Bolsheviks. Louise agrees as long as she can have her own byline and be known as “Miss Bryant.” Arriving at the Russian front by train, he and Louise observe weary soldiers abandoning the fight to join the Bolsheviks. Acquaintance Alex Gomberg arranges for the couple to stay at a vacant apartment in Petrograd and acts as translator while guiding them to rallies in the streets, where they also witness long lines for food. Jack and Louise obtain interviews with the country’s influential political figures, such as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Alexander Kerensky. Although the two cover the imminent insurrection together and edit each other’s articles, Louise is still reluctant to resume their relationship as husband and wife, and insists Jack sleep on the couch. At a factory one night, a large gathering of workers debate whether to strike, and one of the men persuades Jack to address the crowd. When he declares through an interpreter that American workers will follow their example, the Russians cheer and sing their revolutionary anthem, “The Internationale.” Inspired by the moment, Louise cries as Jack finds her in the crowd. The lovers reconcile and march with the Bolsheviks in their moment of triumph. In 1918, the Reeds return to Croton-on-Hudson and are determined to stay together as they write and campaign for the American worker. Louise lectures about the Russian Revolution, amid an atmosphere of mistrust about the movement in America, while Jack writes his eyewitness account, Ten Days That Shook the World, which becomes a huge success. However, they are both under surveillance by the U.S. government as communist sympathizers. When the left wing of the American Socialist Party is expelled from the organization’s convention in 1919, two rival communist factions emerge, one led by Louis Fraina and a smaller one led by Jack, called the Communist Labor Party of America (CLP). To obtain recognition from the Communist International (Comitern), the CLP elects to send Jack to Moscow, Russia, as their delegate. The development upsets Louise. Unlike her idealistic husband, she is skeptical about the possibility of a workers’ revolution in America and reminds Jack he can accomplish more as a writer than a politician. He promises to return by Christmas, but Louise refuses to join him. After Jack leaves, government agents notify Louise of a warrant for his arrest on sedition charges. Meanwhile, Jack must illegally enter Bolshevik “red” Russia, which is surrounded by counter-revolutionary forces, known as the White Army. In Moscow, he fails to obtain the endorsement of the Comitern executive committee, which believes the two communist factions in America should merge. Instead of helping Jack return to the U.S., committee head, Grigory Zinoviev, asks him to work for Russia’s Propaganda Bureau, calling him an important “engineer” in the international revolution. Jack, however, is anxious to see Louise and tries to escape the country on his own. While traveling on a railroad handcar, he is apprehended by White Army soldiers and imprisoned in Finland. When Louise learns of her husband’s predicament, she appeals to the U.S. State Department, but they are indifferent. Beside the fact that Jack left without a proper passport and visa, America is an ally of the White Army against the Bolsheviks. Through the help of Eugene O’Neill, Louise travels as a stowaway on a freighter to Norway, followed by an arduous trek through the snow toward Finland. Jack’s health deteriorates in jail as he develops scurvy, and Finnish authorities destroy telegrams from Louise notifying him she is on her way. After the Bolsheviks negotiate a prisoner exchange, Jack is released and taken back to Petrograd. Unaware of Louise’s travels, he sends numerous telegrams to her in New York and is confused by her lack of response. Emma Goldman, who is also an exile in Petrograd, comments that Louise was never a revolutionary and advises Jack to give her the chance to lead another life. When Louise finally arrives at the remote Finnish prison, she is speechless to learn her husband has been released. Meanwhile, Jack resumes his work with the revolution, and participates in a Comitern Congress, as a member of the American delegation. Emma declares that the Bolshevik movement that originally inspired them is dying and being replaced by Soviet bureaucracy, but Jack still has faith in the workers’ cause. He agrees to join Zinoviev at a Congress for the people of the Middle East, in Baku, Azerbaijan, risking a journey through hostile territory. Meanwhile, in Petrograd, Emma is shocked when she encounters Louise, who has managed to cross into Russia, and apologizes for being wrong about her commitment. During the Congress, Jack appears unwell in the chaotic atmosphere of Baku, and counter-revolutionaries ambush the Comitern train on the way back to Petrograd. Unaware if Jack has survived, Louise waits at the station when the train arrives and scans the departing passengers for her husband. After observing a dead body on a stretcher, she looks up and sees a weary Jack. As they embrace, he pleads with her not to leave him. In failing health, Jack is hospitalized in Russia and Louise rarely leaves his bedside. When she returns to his room after refilling a water bottle, she cannot hold back tears upon realizing he has died. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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