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The Red Menace [Blu-ray] (1949)

Robert Rockwell , Hanne Axman , R.G. Springsteen  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Rockwell, Hanne Axman, Betty Lou Gerson, Lester Luther, Barbra Fuller
  • Directors: R.G. Springsteen
  • Writers: Albert DeMond
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AOO5P0M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,803 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Taken seriously by only a few, THE RED MENACE still caused a sensation with its anti-Communist propaganda. When a disgruntled ex-soldier (Robert Rockwell) gets no help from the Veteran's Bureau, he is ripe for the influences of Communists who lead him down the party line. But he soon meets up with disillusioned party members who attempt to break out. "Are you now, or have you ever been?" Fear of Communism, ultimately brought to a peak by the McCarthy Hearings, swept post-war America. A divided Hollywood scurried to pledge their allegiance - and cash in on the furor. I MARRIED A COMMUNIST, BIG JIM McLEAN and other inflammatory warnings came to the screen. Leading the way was THE RED MENACE, the first full-length film concerning Communist infiltration in America. Overseen by Republic studio chief Herbert Yates, the film's production was shrouded in secrecy. FATHOMS DEEP was the working title, but the word on the street was that it had something to do with Communism in the USA. Like other films of its era, the documentary-styled THE RED MENACE was a message movie that crossed over into flat-out propaganda. Still, it is an intriguing, well-made reminder of a tumultuous time. Stylishly directed by R.G. Springsteen (Waco).

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Child of its Time August 15, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD must be watched on a plasma TV. The blacks are so black, and the tonal gradients are so pronounced. Every scene looks as if it were an art photo-print. The cinematographer really knew what he were doing when he shot this film. Visually it is stunning.

There is an historic context to this film. It was made at the very outset of the anti-communist hysteria that gripped the post WWII United States. This was made around the time of the Alger Hiss scandal, at the outset of the HUAC hearings, and a few years shy of Joseph McCarthy era.

One must begin to ask if the depiction of cells of "Communists" really reflect what American Communists were really all about, and what their meetings, and agitations were really like. I have to suspect that the depiction and the reality are quite seriously divergent.

I would implore literate patrons of, and those wider read to suggest some memoirs or accounts by members of the American Communist Party of which they are aware, to balance the depiction in this film.

This is such a document from the late 40s early 50s transition period. Everyone drinks, everyone smokes. I really craved Scotch-and-water on ice, and I really wanted a cigarette while i watched it.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary Flick about the Real RED Scare July 24, 2007
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This classic was hard to fine and understandably so. The plot follows an American Vet perturbed by our benevolent big government not fullfilling the American dream of the G.I. Bill's promise of a low interest home loan. Our patriot is the target of a Communist cell who are always looking for new recruits and also offering their version of the American dream however sans God,mother,country and the apple pie. Great flick goes over every communist type. But watch out for that liberated woman she may not feel diamonds are a girl's best friend but she'll take a goosestepping communist with a baseball bat (and I don't mean the game) any time so put on those kneeguards and enjoy
the flick.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kitschy political propaganda October 27, 2013
This crudely-made anticommunist propaganda film has some kitsch value and certainly helps define one extreme end of the Cold War political divide, seen here from the perspective of the far right: it's a Birch Society member's dream film, but pretty weak as a work of art. The characters, mainly communist dupes from a wide spectrum of American ethnic groups, are all weakly drawn stereotypes, and all being manipulated by Commie puppetmasters who despise them all -- Jews, Irish, Italians and African-Americans.

The Communist Party as depicted here is entirely without scruples, using female members only for "flirty fishing," to seduce men in as new recruits, and whenever questioned, they ruthlessly murder or ostracize all dissenters -- a situation that may have been more true in Europe than in America. The portrayal of the Party commissars as basically B-movie mob bosses doesn't ring true dramatically, but it is kind of funny, and reveals more about the attitudes of the filmmakers and the public hysteria of the time than about the commies themselves. The film does have kitsch value, but it is undercut by the crudeness of the film -- the script is pompous and self-serious, but not quite as deliciously silly and ridiculously preachy as you might like. The tone is just a little bit off, although I'm sure film-fest audiences in the '70s probably got a big kick out of seeing it in group settings with the pot smoke in the air... Also, the acting is universally terrible, matching the writing -- there's a reason that the credits don't include a single actor of note, not anyone that you'll recognize. Still, it's cultural history, and has its charms. I prefer the old movies where the commies are actually from outer space, though! (Axton)
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14 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Told it like it was. This movie shows how the Reds worked their way into peoples lives & subverted their way of thinking.
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7 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No dialogue, just cliches and rhetoric June 4, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Shepherd Mencken (Henry Solomon's) anticommunist soliloquy near the end of this film is a real hoot ("My flag has three colors, not one that's the color of blood!"). But this is also true of the other anticommunist soliloquys that make up much of the dialogue. Nobody actually speaks in this film. Almost every line consists of either pro or anti-communist cliches and rhetoric. Like "Reefer Madness," the basic premise is understandable in light of the times, but it is all to broad to be taken seriously today, except for the most hardcore, unreconstructed red-baitiers who don't understand that the Soviet Union is dead.
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