THE STORY: Writing has been the only escape of Louise Bryant until she goes to a lecture one night in 1912 and is mesmerized by a radical journalist, John Reed. She leaves her husband and goes to Greenwich Village with Reed where she keeps writing, covering the 1913 Armory Show of post-impressionist paintings from Europe. Reed is so wrapped up in changing the world that Louise leaves him for awhile and stays with a playwright, Eugene O’Neill. She returns to Reed. He goes to Russia and covers the 1917 Revolution. She never forgets Reed. The only American to be buried next to the Kremlin wall.
THE REVIEW: Reds is an epic tale that became an epic movie. This is a classic that is being re-released for its 25th anniversary and we couldn’t be happier.
Making a movie about the Russian revolution would be an epic undertaking alone and yet Director Warren Betty decided something else was needed. Out of that came a story of romance intertwined throughout this revolution. Reds is a movie that was made by the right person at the right time. Beatty makes characters. He didn’t rely on them making themselves.
There is so much meat to this story that it could still be explored in many different ways in movies today. Beatty does an amazing job of giving the right amount of time to each plot and combining them as one. He makes the narratives weave together into a wonderful tapestry on celluloid. The story is rich with characters performed by an all-star cast: Jack Nicholson, Beaty, and Keaton. It helps that they are treated with an amazing script with poignant dialogue.
THE EXTRAS: “Witness to Reds” is a documentary separated into seven parts. These documentaries go from A to Z throughout the making of Reds.
“Witness to Reds: The Rising” – This featurette goes into the budgeting and pre-production for the movie.
“Witness to Reds: Comrades” – This featurette goes into the casting and Beatty talking about directing and acting—also about working with the cast.
“Witness to Reds: Testimonials” – This featurette goes into the interviewing of witnesses.
“Witness to Reds: The March” – This featurette goes into the locations and production.
“Witness to Reds: Revolution Parts 1 and 2” – This featurette goes into the production and Beatty’s friendship with Vittorio Storaro.
“Witness to Reds: Propaganda” – This featurette goes into the wrap up and editing, post-production, public relations, awards, etc.
FRANKLY: Reds is a classic and yet it seems to be left out of conversations about the greatest movies of all time. It’s a shame Reds gets overlooked. Honestly, I overlooked the movie, too—until seeing it again for the first time in decades. Reds is an epic journey and a must own movie.
+ Charlie Craine