I recently watched this movie again after many years. I did not see it when it came out in 1983. That was a hectic and sad time at the beginning of the Reagan presidency, and I was busy fighting against the rising tide of that eras neo-Fascism. I wish I had seen it then. I think it would have piqued my interest in the subject and given me more tools to fight with. It has taken years for me to really appreciate what that dark period in time must have been like. I have done a lot of research on the Red Scare and the Communist Party in the US since then. And here we are again on the cusp of the ugly and dark side of American culture in a Trumpian future. So many parallels. Sidney Lumet was a consummate director who tackled issues that were prescient and thoughtful. He excelled at helping his actors with character development and in creating a cinematic verisimilitude that puts you right in the period and place. Timothy Hutton, an entirely under-appreciated actor, was perfect as Daniel. Ed Asner is always a joy to watch. The entire ensemble of actors made this a classic that should be studied by audiences and students in order to gain a critical understanding of the underbelly of American History, past present and future. Bravo!
Daniel Isaacson attempts to determine the true complicity of his parents Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed for espionage in the 1950s.
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April 9, 2019