Few filmmakers other than Warren Beatty would have had the courage and vision to fashion an epic film from the life of famed American Communist John Reed (who is the only US citizen buried in the Kremlin). The film is an effort to humanize a political movement that has previously been depicted on screen in a series of unsubtle and prejudicial broad strokes. The film begins in 1915, when Reed (Beatty) makes the acquaintance of married Portland journalist Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton). So persuasive is Reed's point of view--and so charismatic is Reed himself-- that Bryant kicks over the traces and joins Reed and his fellow radicals. Among the famous personages depicted herein are Emma Goldman (Maureen Stapleton), Eugene O'Neill (Jack Nicholson) and Max Eastman (Richard Herrmann). The second half of this nearly-200-minute film skims through the years when Reed, now a Russian resident, becomes disillusioned by the harsh realities of Bolshevism. Despite the celebrity line-up of real-life "witnesses" to the events depicted in the film (ranging from novelist Henry Miller to comedian George Jessel!), historians took Reds to task for its oversimplification of events and its laundering of the notoriously promiscuous Louise Bryant.
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Cast & Crew
|Dede Allen||Editor,Executive Producer|
|Simon Bosanquet||Set Decoration/Design|
|A. Kitman Ho||Production Designer|
|Simon Holland||Art Director|
|David L. MacLeod||Associate Producer|
|Redmond Morris||Set Decoration/Design|
|Peter Odabashian||Sound Editor|
|Simon Relph||Editor,Executive Producer|
|Shirley Russell||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Michael Seirton||Production Designer|
|Stephen Sondheim||Score Composer|
|Richard Sylbert||Production Designer|
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I first saw Reds on television in the mid-Eighties, and was absolutely enthralled by both the dramatic story of the film and its treatment of historical events which had been subject to a blanket condemnation by American society for over sixty years (at that point). As a director and, I believe, co-scriptwriter, Warren Beatty proved himself to be a cinematic force to be reckoned with, as he saw fit to release a film which flew in the face of the conservative philosophy of the Reagan years when he could have coasted from conventional film success to success. Beatty and Diane Keaton are perfectly cast as John Reed and Louise Bryant, the two American radicals who are caught up in and embrace the nascent Bolshevik Revolution, only to become jaded by the Revolution's progress and mutation. Of special interest is Jack Nicholson's portrayal of Eugene O'Neill. O'Neill's period as a radical is often overlooked in depictions of him as an artist, so the inclusion of him within the narrative adds to the historical sweep of the film and depicts one of our finest playwrights in what is his most shadowy period. Reds stands as one of the finest American political films ever produced, and its long-awaited release on DVD can only be a source of happiness for those of us who have been relying on worn pan-and-scan videotapes for years now. Oh yes, one really should read both John Reed's and Louise Bryant's books concerning the Bolshevik Revolution, Ten Days that Shook the World and Six Red Months in Russia. The film and the books complement each other almost perfectly.
Reds, a relatively forgotten classic, struck me as one of the most profound films produced in America. The movie unfolded its characters with great depth; Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) being a personality of particular complexity and passion, and John Reed (Warren Beatty) an American writer/journalist whose idealism and ambition lead him to the forefront of the Russian Revolution. This couple's love through all its troubles is extraordinarily intense and grips the viewer to the very end. Through the war and the love affairs, the movie never takes sides. This is perhaps it's greatest strength. The ''RED'' phobia is continually addressed and dismantled by putting the viewer back in time and forward in time. The interviews are a brilliant juxtaposition of comic relief and provide yet another perspective, sometimes so petty, one can only laugh at its stupidity. In summation it is a movie that lives with the viewer long after one sees it, with moments that have rarely been equaled in the cinema.
In my view the greatest film ever made, by far. The intensity is unrelenting, the replication of the period setting (both emotionally and visually) exquisite, and the music/songs so appropriate you can almost touch them. To my knowledge, no other film has employed such intricate, difficult, and realistic scripting - (Dianne Keaton's argumentative dialogues with Warren Beatty are nothing short of brilliant, and shot her to my number 1 female actor of all time). As you watch the film, you'll find it hard to imagine that a film crew is only yards away from the actors; even harder to imagine that Warren Beatty is actually directing the film while playing the lead part! No other film leaves you with such a sense of quiet sensitivity, what might appropriately be termed ''beautiful sadness'', so much so that you hesitate to share the film with anyone for the next few days. The impact is further heightened by the fact that this is a true story - John Reed is indeed the only American buried in the Kremlin wall. The music by Stephen Sondheim, particularly in the very last scene as the credits roll up, caps it off wonderfully. There is the tendency for 'intellectual' critics to give restrained admiration of the film - don't let them fool you. Just for starters, it was nominated for more academy awards than any film in the 15 year period prior (Beatty picked up Best Director), and was the recipient of numerous best picture awards around the world. One recommendation: Take the phone off the hook, and watch it alone the first time, as any distraction will rob you of the incredible emotion this film provides.
It would help us out if you had it in stock.............These actors take you there.