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The Unquiet Death of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
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On June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the so-called atomic spies of the 1950s, were executed at Sing Sing Prison. Their death only fostered the belief of many Americans that the Rosenbergs were innocent, victims of the anti-Communist paranoia of the 50s, rather than spies who had stolen atomic secrets for the Russians. In this landmark documentary, Alvin Goldstein looks at the facts and procedures of the Rosenberg case, as well as the climate of the times, interviewing jurors, FBI agents, lawyers for both sides, and the two sons of the Rosenbergs. Using documentary and newsreel footage, Goldstein creates a moving human drama.
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The prosecution's case is given much less exposure. The film director even goes so far as to interview Roy Cohn, one of the prosecutors, with a portrait of Joe McCarthy in the background! Of course, this trail had nothing to do with McCarthy, but the fix is in as to the conclusion the viewer should come to.
This overt bias isn't inadvertent but deliberate. In light of the conclusive evidence against the Rosenbergs (as well as Alger Hiss) revealed in the 1990's, namely the Venona transcripts, KGB files, and FBI files, this film 's real value is as an example of the leftist media's denial of their complicity in covering for Red subversion, both at the time and for decades afterward.