A rare treat from Hollywood's brief anticommunist period
Conservatives accustomed to nonstop leftism from Hollywood should set their DVRs to record an incredible movie – one of my favorites – being shown tonight on Turner Classic Movies, at 12:30 AM Eastern, 9:30 Pacific. The film in question is now titled The Woman on Pier 13, but its original title is much more descriptive: I Married a Communist.
The story concerns a former communist gone straight, played by Robert Ryan, who is blackmailed by a Communist Party member who was formerly his girlfriend, now working as a journalist. Ryan's character has married and become an executive in the shipping business, and he now faces pressure to stir up labor trouble on the San Francisco waterfront, a potentially crippling blow to our armed forces in East Asia, where trouble is already stirring in Korea.
The story is a classic film noir – a dark tale of deceit and corruption, with the hero betrayed by a femme fatale, wonderfully played by Janis Carter, whose character is the focus of personal and communist evil. Given the fact the Communist Party of the USA actively exploited sex as a recruiting and control tool, the story is highly realistic.
Some of the writers and directors of the film noir genre were, in fact, communists and fellow travelers, so this film is a stark contrast to the mainstream of this school of filmmaking. It was their exposure and the blacklisting of the "Hollywood Ten" that helped drive Hollywood to the left. So I consider this movie a blaze of glory before the left cleverly boomeranged the efforts of anticommunists into domination of movies and, subsequently, our entire popular culture.
I like this movie so much that I have a poster of it, under its original title, hanging in my house. If you have never seen it, do record and savor it.