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Michael CurtizA Life in Film$
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Alan K. Rode

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813173917

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813173917.001.0001

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“Those fine patriotic citizens, the Warner Brothers”

“Those fine patriotic citizens, the Warner Brothers”

(p.338) 25 “Those fine patriotic citizens, the Warner Brothers”
Michael Curtiz

Alan K. Rode

University Press of Kentucky

During the height of World War II, Curtiz directed Mission to Moscow (1943), the most controversial film of his career. The wartime alliance between the U.S.S.R. and the United States motivated President Roosevelt to personally request the brothers Warner to produce this film. It was based on the best-selling “diary” of a former Soviet ambassador and F.D.R. intimate, Joseph Davies, and the Warners and Curtiz believed that they were supporting the war effort. Davies, however, exercised both script approval and the power of the White House in shaping the film into an absurdly biased tribute to Stalin and the Soviet Union. Although the finished film had minimal influence on public opinion, it fueled the creation of the right-wing Motion Picture Alliance and the postwar HUAC witch hunt.Curtiz pivoted to direct the Irving Berlin musical revue This Is the Army, which became his most financially successful Warner picture; Harry and Jack Warner donated all of the considerable profits to the Army Emergency Relief Fund.He also directed Passage to Marseille, a problem-wracked failure, and Janie, an adolescent drama that was a box-office hit.

Keywords:   Mission to Moscow, Joseph Davies, Franklin Roosevelt, Stalin, The Motion Picture Alliance, HUAC, This Is the Army, Irving Berlin, Passage to Marseille, Janie

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