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Cherry Pop

'The Iron Curtain: Cinema Archives'
(Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, June Havoc, Berry Kroeger, Edna Best, et al / DVD / NR / (1948) 2016 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: This Cold War story tells the true tale of Igor Gouzenko, an ordinary code clerk working in the Soviet embassy in 1940s Canada. When Gouzenko realizes his government is trafficking atomic secrets through his office, and that his Canadian hosts are less of a threat to peace than his Mother Russia, he steals classified documents and decides to defect.

DVD Verdict: Dana Andrews is Igor Gouzenko, a Russian spy in Canada in 'The Iron Curtain,' a 1948 film based on a true story. Andrews plays a Russian during and after World War II who is sent to work as a code clerk for a ring in Canada; once the bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, the Communists become particularly interested in documents pertaining to it. Eventually his wife (Gene Tierney) joins him and tells him that she is pregnant.

With the birth of his son, and the disillusionment of one of the ring (Eduard Franz), whose father was a great leader, Gouzenko slowly begins to realize that he's on the wrong side and decides that he and his family will not return to Russia. He steals important documents from his office with the idea of handing them over to the Department of Justice before his bosses realize what has happened, but fate plays against him. It becomes a race against time to get the documents into the right hands as well as save his family, even if he can't save himself.

Done in semi-documentary style, this is a pretty good propaganda drama with fine performances from an always attractive couple, Andrews and Tierney, and a great performance by Eduard Franz in a showy role. Andrews is one of the few leading men under contract at 20th Century Fox who was served well, particularly once Fox's biggest star, Tyrone Power, went to war; the hard-bitten roles Andrews played in many film noirs have given him a place in film history. Like both Power and John Payne, he was versatile, appearing in every type of film.

Not realizing he was trained as an opera singer, the studio dubbed him in 'State Fair' - they'd thrown so many non-singers into musicals, it never occurred to them he actually might be one. Alcoholism cut his star years short though he continued to work and speak on behalf of facing up to alcoholism. Tierney's career had its ups and downs due to her personal life as well, but in three films, they made a wonderful couple.

Toward the end, 'The Iron Curtain' becomes quite intense and exciting. Well directed by William Wellman, it's worth watching though some may not like its definite propaganda bent. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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