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View Full Version : I saw the movie 'Reds' for the first time last night



rbgarr
12-12-2007, 08:49 AM
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zinn/John_Reed_HZOH.html

ishmael
12-12-2007, 09:07 AM
A good counterpoise to Reed's romanticizing of the Russian Revolution would be The Gulag Archipelago. The first "genuine proletariat revolution" lasted about a nano-second. The top dogs almost immediately started rounding people up, torturing them and working them to death on a scale that made the Tsar look like a piker.

Keith Wilson
12-12-2007, 09:27 AM
Romanticizing of the Russian Revolution?? Not how I remember the film (except for the romance between Diane Keaton and whatsisname). Reed certainly did that, but so did a lot of other intelligent and well-intentioned people at the time. In 1918 it was still possible to be an idealistic communist with a clear conscience. I thought the film did a fairly good job of showing how something that originally embodied a tremendous amount of idealism and hope started to degenerate into tyranny.

What I mainly remember is the absolutely interminable scenes of Diane Keaton skiing across Finland for what seemed like months. My main reaction to the movie was an intense desire to go sit in a hot tub.

Joe (SoCal)
12-12-2007, 09:31 AM
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Directed by David Lean. With Omar Sharif, Julie Christie

Muuuuuuuuch MUUUUUUCH better film.
A David Lean materpiece ooofa I'm netflixing it now. ;)

ishmael
12-12-2007, 09:39 AM
"Romanticizing of the Russian Revolution?? Not how I remember the film (except for the romance between Diane Keaton and whatsisname). Reed certainly did that, but so did a lot of other intelligent and well-intentioned people at the time."

I'm not clear what you are saying Keith. Did Reed romanticize the RR or not? I've not seen the film since it was in original release. The fact remains--even if Reed and other western intellectuals were naive to it--that before the dust had settled the brutal repression of just about everyone had begun. Read(re-read) Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago is an eye opener.

Keith Wilson
12-12-2007, 09:56 AM
Reed certainly romanticized the Russian Revolution, as did almost everybody else on the left at the time. The film does not; it shows the beginnings of tyranny, and the beginnings of the American radicals' disillusionment with the Bolsheviks. (remember the scene with Emma Goldman). Hindsight's a wonderful thing; it's much easier to judge a revolution after you know how badly it turned out. In fact, I'd say (although it was a long time ago) that one of the themes of the film is the contrast between the idealism and good intentions of the radicals and the hideous turn the revolution took. Reed didn't have a copy of The Gulag Archipelago. There were several points at which history might have gone in a quite different direction; had Bukharin bested Stalin in the struggle for control of the Communist party in the late '20s, for example.

ishmael
12-12-2007, 10:10 AM
I'm not blaming western intellectuals circa 1919, just saying that knowing what actually transpired is a good counterpoise to their romantic notions...romantic notions which many intellectual idealogues in the west held tight to even after the publication of "Gulag" in 1973.

Keith Wilson
12-12-2007, 10:48 AM
The extreme contrast between the intentions of the early Communists (most of them, anyway) and how it actually turned out is one of the great ironies (or possibly tragedies) of recent history. They had the best of intentions and the results were about as bad as one can imagine.

Kaa
12-12-2007, 11:18 AM
They had the best of intentions and the results were about as bad as one can imagine.

I am not so sure about the best of intentions. Sure, there were pretty dreams and lofty goals, but any sociopolitical movement has those. If you look through agitprop, even the "honest" communists had in mind a rather complete domination of collective over individual, which I wouldn't call best intentions.

Besides, they were never shy of getting their hands bloody on the way to the workers' paradise. Consider the Red Terror which was already in full swing by September 1918...

And, of course, remember that the intention of the Inquisition was to save your soul...

Kaa

Kaa
12-12-2007, 01:02 PM
Nobody seems to be mentioning the condiitions that LED directly to the rapture of socialism and communism prior to 1918.

Nobody's saying that tsarist Russia was a nice and fair place to live in. I don't see how that justifies bolsheviks, though. The problem isn't that they overthrew the tsar, the problem is with things like


"To dispose of our enemies, we will have to create our own socialist terror. For this we will have to train 90 million of the 100 million of Russians and have them all on our side. We have nothing to say to the other 10 million; we will have to get rid of them."or

Comrades!... You must make example of these people. (1) Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers. (2) Publish their names. (3) Seize all their grain. (4) Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday's telegram.(both quotes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Terror)

Kaa

Keith Wilson
12-12-2007, 01:17 PM
Oh, nobody's defending the Bolsheviks and the Red Terror (I hope) My point is the incredible contrast between the idealism of most who supported the Revolution, their quite realistic expectations for improvement in their lot, and what they actually got. Of course it's clear in hindsight which way things were going, but it wasn't at the time, for most folks anyway.

T. Traddles
12-12-2007, 02:53 PM
The extreme contrast between the intentions of the early Communists (most of them, anyway) and how it actually turned out is one of the great ironies (or possibly tragedies) of recent history. They had the best of intentions and the results were about as bad as one can imagine.

Not for Dostoevsky. He foresaw such horrors long before 1917 because he was such an astute social observer of mid 19th/c Europe and Russia.

rbgarr
12-12-2007, 05:32 PM
I read somewhere that Warren Beatty got into the role so much that he spoke to the crew of extras about capitalists exploiting their labor and as a result, they struck for higher wages.

Beatty was also the producer of the film and he was a bit of a laughingstock in Hollywood circles for a while.