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Warren Beatty's lengthy 1981 drama about American Communist John Reed and his relationships with both the Russian Revolution and a writer named Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) is a compelling piece of little-known history told in a uniquely personal way. Beatty plays Reed as he did the title gangster in Bugsy and Senator in Bulworth, as a visionary likely to die before anyone fully recognizes the progressiveness of the vision, including those who are supposed to be on the same page. Jack Nicholson has an interesting part as fellow intellectual Eugene O'Neill, and the late author Jerzy Kosinski--himself a refugee from then-Soviet-controlled Poland--makes a strong impression as Reed's problematic Russian liaison. --Tom Keogh
In some ways, Warren Beatty's 195-minute film about the radical movement at the beginning of the 20th century is the last Hollywood studio epic. A peerless reporter, John Reed, mixes with the intellectuals of the time who see socialism as the answer to end what would become the First World War. As with epics, we go on a journey--from Portland to New York to Europe and finally Russia--just in time to witness the revolution that would make Reed famous upon publishing "Ten Days That Shook the World." But Reed had more ambition, and Beatty's ambition is splendidly captured on the screen, matched by a tremendous cast and stunning visuals (shot by Oscar-winner Vittorio Storaro). Reds doesn't have the action or vistas as a David Lean epic, but travels on the road less taken--here, seeing the birth of communism. Beatty and Trevor Griffiths lace their talky script of ideas with plenty of humor and fashion a poignant love story. Reed's infatuation with the rebel without a cause, Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton), turns into a love triangle with playwright Eugene O'Neill (Jack Nicholson at his most sublime). As Brooks becomes more complex and stalwart, the love story becomes something more. Keaton is perfect in following the arc of Brooks, just another spot-on casting decision by Beatty. Also impressive is Oscar winner Maureen Stapleton as feisty activist Emma Goldman and author Jerzy Kolinsky (Being There) as a Russian diplomat. The boldest stroke is hearing from real "witnesses" talking about the times. They are funny, poetic, deft, provide musical accompaniment and, most importantly, expertly set up scenes. The uninitiated will learn about this time in remarkable fashion; the cineaste can marvel in the ground Beatty covers, never better then a montage ending first half as Reed and Brooks are literally swept up in the revolution.
Beatty states at the top of the DVD extras he's not a big fan of talking about a movie (and did no publicity for the film upon its release in 1981). So there is no commentary track, just an expertly produced 90-minute retrospective with interviews from most of the major players, minus Keaton. We find out why Beatty's best performances are the ones he doesn't direct, while Nicholson provides the reason why Beatty had to star. Beatty talks about the process to interview the witnesses, and when we see bits of unused footage, it whets the appetite for more. Certainly, an hour of witness outtakes would have been something special, and would allow Beatty not to speak about his masterpiece. --Doug Thomas
- Beatty's Best, but no Citizen Kane
'Reds', directed by and starring Warren Beatty has been called his 'Citizen Kane', comparing Beatty in some ways to Orson Welles. I agree with practically all the other major reviewers below in believing 'Reds' is Beatty's best, before or since, but it is nowhere near the quality of 'Citizen Kane', and it has little in common with Orson Welles directing style. In fact, the two directors to which I think Beatty owes the most for this movie are Woody Allen and Robert Altman. The 'witnesses' segments seem to pop out of 'Annie Hall's similar technique. And, the gimmick of having several people talking at once is pure Altman.
After all these years, I think this movie has not worn as well as many other Oscar also-rans. The one think for which I most often remember this movie is Jack Nicholson's very underplaid role as Eugene O'Neill. This may be one of the very, very, very few roles where our Jack does not ham it up. I saw this in the theatre when it first came out, and unlike some other movies such as 'Apocalypse Now', it does not improve with age, although it is still a worthy dramatization of places and times which are becoming more and more foreign to us.
Worthy, but not great....more info
- Entertaining and Passionate Epic Film
As a disclaimer I must tell you that I am a big fan of the film epic, especially from the director, David Lean, who directed Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. In Reds, there are long treks across the frozen tundra and men on horseback attacking trains that pay homage to Lean.
There are spectacular scenes and attention to detail that make the film a visual treat. The cinematography earns the Oscar it got in 1982 and looks wonderful on DVD. It really doesn't look over 25 years old partly because it probably got cleaned up for the DVD, but also because of the expert lighting and cinematography. I can't imagine what it looks like in the HD version.
There are some who say that Beatty glorifies communism. I would disagree. Beatty instead glorifies the act of revolution and idealism whether it is the free love movement or the revolution against war and for the liberation of workers. There is excitement of political organizing and passion of actually overturning oppression. This is why many would feel the first part of Reds is better than the second. The second part shows the consequences of the revolution whether it is hurting a lover or finding that the revolt only replaced tyranny with tyranny.
I really appreciate the inter-cutting of interviews with witnesses to that time in history. These men and women knew the main characters in the film and share their opinions and remembrances with great charm.
At 195 minutes, the film is rather long -- too long. The film would have benefited from tighter editing and little less indulgence. With that being said, this film earns a solid B and is worth a watch.
- An Oldie But A Goodie - Beatty is timeless
If you haven't seen Reds, then you need to, because even though it's now 25 years old, it's still wonderful: well-written, well shot, beautifully directed, and wonderfully acted. The story is still pertinent - and now, 25 years later, seems to be even more poignant. Especially interesting is Beatty's decsion as a director to include interviews with the movers and shakers of the time, and the way they were shot and edited is fascinating...
Don't pass this one up!...more info
- Epic in detail, epic in scope
Warren Beatty gives a staggering performance, not only in a difficult lead role but as producer, director and screenwriter, after this film Beatty seemed to rest on his laurels, with a few brief exceptions. Diane Keaton is also strong, although I think basically miscast. She is many things but not a femme fatale on the Louise Bryant line, and the picture fails to show why Reed and Eugene O'Neill (not to mention her first husband!) were all so hot for her. Nicholson is ok as Eugene O'Neill, really a rather underwritten part. He seems to be playing O'Neill as though O'Neill was a sailor character from THE LAST DETAIL, endlessly skulking over the waterfront. Stephen Sondheim's glorious, somewhat sardonic anthem shows why this Broadway composer should be writing more for the movies.
It's hard to believe this film came out back in 1981. When it opened, it seemed as though it might usher in an era of intelligent historical epics about the American experience. History has taught us otherwise. Yes, the "American experience" for even though the movie is much concerned with the Bolshevik Revolution, and much of the film is set in Russia, it is largely concerned with how Americans took the news of a revolution on the other side of the world.
What would we want from the DVD version of REDS? That's a question with an easy answer. And it would be the best extra of the year. Simply present the unedited testimony of the so-called "Witnesses" of the film. The best part of the movie was seeing, in plain black and white, and so elegantly photographed, actual men and women who were alive before WWI and who (mostly) remembered Bryant and Reed or other Village intellectuals. In REDS their appearances are sometimes frustrating curtailed, in order, of course, to serve the dramatic arc of the movie as a whole. I'd love to see the enedited footage. These "witnesses" include many who are gone now--indeed I wonder if any of them could still be alive, for the youngest of them was about 80 when the film was shot! And some of them were geniuses in their own right--Henry Miller, Rebecca West, Will Durant, Scott Nearing, as well as some of the most endearing personalities of the century. I'm crossing my fingers that Paramount is working this up....more info
- Bravo Beatty!!!!
In 1981, the year Reds was released, the world was seeing a decayed and backrupt political system. Communissim was gasping its last breath in Romania, Serbia. Hungry, Poland and the former Yugosalavia and Czechoslovakia. The "Red Menance" was not so scary afterall. Regan was still in the White House and could watch the Berlin Wall crumble on TV. Such were the times when Warren Beatty choose to tell the story of John Reed. Here was history's eye whitness to the birth of the longest and most pervasive totalitarian rule the world would ever know. And how was it that an American journalist came to tell the story? Beatty manages to succeed on several levels. First and foremost the story is woven out over three plus hours with such skill and precision that I would not want a single scene cut. I have absolutely no quarrel with the editing. The story simply could not be told and the impact would not be as great were it even twenty minutes shorter.
After giving us access to the events central to the story, Warren Beatty takes us into the life behind the story, the life of John Reed, an extarordinary man, who covered the story for the leftest newspaper "The Masses". If all this were not enough, we're also allowed to explore Reed's life, through the eyes and words of some of the most dynamic and influencial personalities of the early twentith century. Like a real life "Rag Time" or "Forest Gump" Reed's life becomes a lightening rod, attracting and interacting with famous personalities like Eugene O'Neil, played by Jack Nicholson with tremendous intensity and depth and Emma Goldman, played by Maureen Stapleton. She delivers an oscar worthy supporting performance and one of her finest roles ever. These and many others provide a panoramic view of world shattering events that took place in Eastern Europe and Russia in the early part of the last century. To Beatty's credit he manages to inter-weave these characters into chronological order, placing them in different parts of the world at precise moments in history. This historical backdrop provides the emotional core within the relationship between the central characters, played with superlative chemestry by Beatty and Keaton.
Warren Beatty hit his stride with Reds. This is film making that deserves to be talked about and compared with other great non-fiction epics like Ghandhi, Patton and Lawrence Of Arabia. Reds succeds in taking a complex story and distilling it down to its most essential elements. We care deeply about the relationship between John Reed and Louise Bryant and how they were effected by the upheavel of the revolution. Their journey and their story make for three plus hours of extraordinary cinema. I for one can not wait to see this movie finally make its debut on DVD. This is film-making of the very highest level. Here's a movie that will educate and entertain, without being heavey-handed or pompus. It's been long over-due in my book. Bravo Beatty! This is clearly your masterpiece.
- One of the best - REDS!
I thought this film was extraordinary. The story is based on a true story of a famous reporter and poet, Jack Reed who recorded this historical event in his best-known book TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD. The story of the Russian Revolution against the terribly corrupt monarchy and aristocracy and the US right wing suspicious disaproval of it. The cast is excellent. Warren Beatty who wrote the film and starred in it also included Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaten who played the role of Beatty's wife, Louise Bryant. Filled with adventure, romance incorporated with a revolution that occurred in Russia and in some respects in the US.
I recently bought it on DVD! Greater than ever. ...more info
- Great period docudrama Amer Communist party, 1917 Russian Revolution
This film is a docu-drama about the 1917 Russian Revolution that transferred political power from the Tsars (royal Romanov family) to a socialist / communist gov't under Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Also chronicled the start of the Socialist labor and Communist parties in America.
Much of the film is about the American Socialist labor movement of the early teens in NYC as a rebellion against the Industrial Revolution during the late 19th century. The other third of the film shows John Reed in the Russia during the early Communist party formation, trying to get legitimacy from the RU party for the Amer party. While there he wears himself down physically. Then his left-behind wife, Bryant, crosses Finland to St Petersburg too, but too late where Reed dies of typhus ("Jail Fever," a sanitation disease caused by bacteria which attack the brain, spread by body lice, which was common in Russia. (only curable with the antibiotics tetracycline, occurs naturally in beer fermentation (Conover, Pfizer 1950 patent) and prevented with insecticide DDT (Muller, 48 Nobel) discovered in 1939).
As an adjunct film of history on the Industrial Revolution, watch the first half of PBS's TV epic by Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel (05)." It shows how the agricultural and industrial revolutions profoundly affected world politics, including conquest, colonialism, and socialistic communities. Driving former agrarian peoples (serf sharecropper, slavery, feudalism) from the farm to cities and its centers for education was essential to create the artisan worker (middle-class). This also created the economically powerful capitalist-class. The socialistic counter-attack was German Karl Marx and Frederich Engels thesis "Das Kapital (1867)" which addressed the exploitation and alienation of the laboring class.
The industrial revolution started in the UK in the late 18th and 19th centuries starting with textile and steel making, canals and rail, and steam power. The Russian political revolution started in Petrograd (St Petersburg) then the largest city and capital of Russia at the time at the eastern-most edge of the Baltic Sea, next to Finland and closest port to W Europe's technology.
It became the industrial center of Russia, with canals cut in the former swamp and in 1718 to the headwaters of Volga River system which is 80 miles from Moscow, iron ore deposits south of Moscow near the Ukraine boarder, coal near Moscow, steam engine technology starting in 1837, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrograd State U, Technology and Mining Institutes, Medical-Surgical and Naval Academies and migration of the serfs emancipated by Alexander II starting in 1861. The 1916 Petrograd population was 2.4 million housed in large community housing building projects.
Much of Beatty's Russia was filmed in Finland with expensive recreation of Russian sets, as he botched getting permission from the former USSR gov't in the late 70s, as they were in the midst of Soviet War in Afghanistan (79-89) with the US, UK, and PRChina supporting the Muslim Mujahideen rebels in a guerrilla war. This was a half-decade before Perestroika economic restructuring was starting in 1986 by Gorbachev, as centralized-management model of Soviet industry and agriculture was failing due, in part, with the debilitating Afghan war.
He initially went to visit Moscow's centralized film industry, MOSFilm, but started off on the wrong foot, calling the 1917 Oktoberist Revolution a mere "Bolshevik takeover." Did this backlash cause the film not adequately described in the "Reds" was the revolutionary proletariat (labor class), Vladimir Lenin, and the formation of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP)? The RSDLP later formed the Russian Communist Party. Vladimir Lenin (as Roger Sloman) appearance in "Reds" was a mere look-alike in the background, even though he was elected Chmn of the Soviet Congress at 47 years old on 8 Nov 1917.
Instead Beatty's dialog emphasized Reed's conflict with Grigory Zinoviev (as Jerzy Kosinski) who was one of Lenin's closest aides. Before the Oktoberist 1917 revolution, he wrote a position paper against an armed revolution against the weakened, inbred Tsarist monarchy. This caused Zinoviev's temporary expulsion from the Soviet Central Committee and eventual imprisonment for treason.
Beatty's film did not have an epilogue where Stalin's rise to power after Lenin's (1870-1924) (Kazan U, LLB U StPetersburg, taught Geneva U) assassination attempt (1918), refusing hospitalization and resulting a long debilitating 6-year illness. Stalin emphasized industrial and agricultural development away from the vulnerable Baltic after WW I towards the interior Moscow, Volga River and Ural Mts dividing Europe and Soviet Asia.
Good thing that Beatty had essentially a blank check from Paramount / Gulf+Western coffers as filming took about a year and burned up over a million feet of film, that was specially processed in Rome, Italy, in order to get the special dark filming effects, pioneered by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who won 3 Oscars, including "Apocalypse Now (79)" (Coppola, dir, 2 Oscars) and "The Last Emperor (87)" (Bertolucci, dir, 9 Oscars).
ENR is a proprietary Technicolor process (originally developed for Vittorio Storaro by Technicolor-Rome by three employees with initials E, N & R). It is one of the many bleach retention processes: after the bleach bath in the pos process, the film is passed through a black and white developer which reconverts the bleached silver ions to silver, which is not removed in the fixer. The result is a very contrasty and desaturated image, with particularly rich blacks but subdued colors.
Overall, a great docudrama movie, well researched and well filmed. But too long, 3 1/4 hrs. In the movie marketplace it did poorly only grossing at the box office of $40M, with a production budget $32M. Paramount lost money on American Communist party history....more info
- A splendid candidate for Blu Ray release..
As a spectacular epic production, Warren Beatty's "Reds" is a marvelous choice for release in the Blu Ray format. Even without this high definition enhancement, the intelligence of the film and the superlative performances by its all-star cast make it unusually rewarding. The production's richly detailed evocation of life in the early 20th Century and its cast-of-thousands sequences of spectacular action benefit enormously from the great great increase in sharpness that the format provides. I hope that many of the screen's classic historic epics will soon join this one on Blu Ray discs....more info
- The hobo Philosopher
Believe it or not I was looking for a copy of this film for years. I had the wrong director/producer and I couldn't find it. Finally I stumbled onto Warren Beatty and there it was.
It was done quite well - not many movies in the United States with an American communist hero as the subject matter.
Beatty concentrates on the love story involved, which is probably the only way that this subject would ever have been acceptable in America.
I wish someone would do the life story of Karl Marks in the same manner.
Marks' life involves a fantastic love story - along with his political, social, and economic disaster. It would make a wonderful movie - but would probably have as much box office success as Reds.
I wanted this movie because of the history involved, but the great and human rendition of the love story involved was like frosting on the cake.
This was a combination documentary, history lecture, and romantic love story. I would guess that this would have to be considered the greatest production of Beatty's career. It is quite a movie - and done in a balanced, non-judgemental way. I really enjoyed it.
Books written by Richard Noble - The Hobo Philosopher:
"Hobo-ing America: A Workingman's Tour of the U.S.A.."
"A Summer with Charlie"
"A Little Something: Poetry and Prose"
"Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother"
- An Amazing Accomplishment
It's shocking that this isn't available on DVD, representing, as it does, perhaps Warren Beatty's greatest accomplishment as a filmmaker. This epic drama tells the story of John Reed, the only American buried in the Kremlin, and his enmeshment in the events surrounding the Bolshevik revolution...if it sounds like dry history, rest assured that it is far from...the film achieves a great balance between the historical context and the personal dramas of the characters' lives...and what great acting: Beatty gives one of his absolute best performances,and as for the rest of the cast including Diane Keaton, Paul Sorvino and Jack Nicholson (as playwright Eugene O'Neill), they are, without exception, magnicent...let's hope this makes it to DVD soon...epics like this are made for hi-def, big screen TVs!...more info
- Russian Revolution With American Movie Stars
Hollywood's been waiting a long time for this one. The Cold War pretty much made the Revolution a taboo subject. By the time Beatty got around to it, the proletariat had disappeared to be replaced by American college kids with trust funds and drugs arrests. Still, it is good to see this extraordinary historic event dramatized so well and performed so memorably, even if it stars Beatty playing a whiny, post-Watergate-type journalist who believed in the truth. The Bolsheviks had to put him wise on a few things. Jack Nicholson plays Eugene O'Neil, the great cynical playwright, whose marvelous performance put young Diane Keaton's silly Woody Allen impersonation in a new light. Overall, it is unique in its mainstream use of interviews to extend (pad?) the narrative. I found these interviews a real high light, especially the extended use of Henry Miller who is a hoot. Beatty never really fulfilled his promise after this stunning film. Like Costner, his seems to have had one masterpiece in him and then he shrank back to size. ...more info
This is Warren Beatty's masterpiece. In Reds, director-actor Beatty creates for himself in John Reed a positive role--a man who is way ahead of his time, not just politically but personally. Maureen Stapleton as anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman was equally heartwarming. I wish there were more films like this and congratulate Mr. Beatty for this courageous and remarkable film....more info
- A Great Historical Film
"Reds" is a film rarity as an historical, non-documentary film about real characters (e.g., Jack Reed) and real events that includes interviews with people who actually knew the principal characters involved. This film was nominated for 12 Oscars, including Best Picture, but won only one (Warren Beatty, Director), I suspect as much for political reasons as anything else. I had been waiting YEARS for this to come out on DVD, or even to just be re-released on VHS. The DVD looks excellent, and sounds great as well. We have loaned it out to friends who had never seen the film before, and they have come back praising it. Enough said.
- The best film of 1981 after Raider of the Lost Ark
In spite of the fact that it does feel like a vanity project, this is the penulimate Warren Beatty movie. It's like watching a David Lean movie. The arguments that Beatty and Keaton are just marvelous and this is one of her performances and that's saying something. Also Jack Nicholson who practically steals every scene he's in. In fact, there's a large supporting cast at the top of their game and that says something about Beatty's skill as a director. He considerably slowed down his input after this, probably thinking how's he ever going to top this. My only real complaint are the witnesses, not that they're there, they serve their function well as a Greek chorus. But there's no identification and guessing their identies distracts from the movie. It was fun seeing Gene Hackman and Beatty share the screen again. My second favorite Beatty movie is "Bonnie and Clyde."...more info
- Reds on DVD - AT LAST!
This is one of my favorite movies of all time and I am ecstatic to have it now on DVD. The chemestry between Keaton and Beaty and Nicholson is wonderful to watch and it is also pleasing to see these three when they were at their peak, as well as getting a different viewpoint of recent history. Definately one to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine on a rainy afternoon.
- "Reds" -- a great American film.
I saw this film when it first played at the Regency 1 Theatre in San Francisco in 1981. I was gratified when Warren Beatty won the Oscar for his work, but I was disappointed the film was not more universally praised and appreciated. Having spent several weeks in the Soviet Union upon graduating from college in 1967, I was stunned by both the historical detail as well as the emotional power of the film. We visited John Reed's place on the Kremlin wall, and we discussed aspects of his push for the acceptance of his beliefs in America. (I was on a college tour for credit -- Political Science and/or Art History -- of most of Europe at the time.) It seems unfortunate that this aspect of American history is not more universally understood and appreciated. It is both important and topical, considering all of the media coverage and discussion regarding our current president's use of Executive Privilege masked as "within the legal limits of the office" to give authority for surveillance of the citizenry. It is interesting to compare the ideology of John Reed with the current political climate. As a gay man concerned with our own equal rights quest, it's great to view the quest of another man somewhat outside the mainstream. I can only wish someone at the studio which released this film would wake up and give it a full, complete and extended release on DVD. IT IS QUITE LONG OVERDUE! ! ! Perhaps, Mr. Beatty is paying attention, and he will push for a proper remastering and release on DVD. It is a great film -- one of significance and with enormous emotional power. It also has an engaging and evocative musical score. IT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED.
- NEEDS REMASTERING. FILM: Wonderful. Transfer: Not so much...
The transfer of this film appears to be the same MPEG transfer as the one used for the DVD version. It DOES NOT appear to be a new 1080p 4k re-mastering of the film. This is not to say that it doesn't look much better in Blu-Ray than it does on DVD. But it is not, evidently, a brand new 1080p 4k transfer made expressly for Blu-Ray release. This can cause some problems, depending on your display system and settings. You may have to select a different input palette or profile on your display, or adjust your settings.
If your system is setup to show Blu-Ray films using the "Cinema" and "Movie" profile of your display, which assumes a low contrast, subdued display of a wide range source that takes full advantage of the display's capabilities, then this film may look washed out, have milky blacks and generally be displeasing. You may have to select a "Standard" profile, with a narrower contrast band, higher gamma and so forth, to bring the film back into the range for which it was originally transferred. Doing so with this film yields remarkable results, it suddenly "snaps to" and produces the sort of effect you were after with a Blu-Ray disc.
As happened in past generations of video standards, VHS to LaserDisc, LaserDisc to DVD, standard definition 480i to "high def" 1080i, and now 480p progressive scan DVD to 1080p Blu-Ray, the studios are cutting corners and, with some titles, re-issuing transfers that were "pretty good" for the prior standard on newer media without re-mastering them for the full potential of the newer media.
Many, if not most, of the Blu-Ray discs I have seen have been remastered at the highest levels with all the capability of Blu-Ray in mind. If you have a 1080p display, and have properly adjusted and configured it, then you are probably in video and film heaven.
Sadly, some major film titles are being "shoved out there" with just their old 1080 MPEG transfers, re-issued on the new Blu-Ray format. This appears to be one of them. If you adjust your display properly, for what's on the disc, you will get very good results. But don't expect it to look great with the settings you would use for a properly made, new 4k transfer for Blu-Ray.
- Awful and awfully long
I saw this movie in the theater when it came out in 1981.
In a word - AWFUL.
Not only is it awful, it is awfully long. It is so long that when shown in the theater, there was an intermission. The intermission was the best part of the movie as it allowed us to politely leave the theater without disturbing other patrons. Interestingly, there were quite a few others (perhaps half of the theater) who left the same time we did. In all the movies I've attended, I've never seen that happen before or after.
One of the 5 stars reviews noted, "Although it did not succeed at the box office," - Well there is a reason why.
Save your money. Don't waste it on this pathetic propaganda....more info
- Gone with the Wind Meets Joseph Stalin...
A wonderful epic, the genius was in making it a romance. Diane Keaton was the perfect choice for his co-star, as she and Beatty are both believable as intellectuals.
Don't be scared off by the subject matter of Communism, the romance is a great story and the movie seems to have as it's motto, "the grass isn't greener". Beatty made a great movie, epic and insightful, summed up in his final words, "I wish I were in America."...more info
Writer-director Beatty's Oscar-winning portrait of leftie scribe John Reed and his paramour Bryant is equal parts sweeping historical epic, tragic romance, and paean to the once influential voices of early American socialism. His ingenious use of actual interviews with those who knew the Greenwich Village couple--including Henry Miller and Rebecca West--gives the picture an extra depth and dramatic veracity. But it's the chemistry between Beatty's uncompromising Reed, a man devoted to the principle of class struggle, and Keaton's fiercely independent Bryant that's sure to rouse your inner rebel. With terrific support from Maureen Stapleton (as Emma Goldman), and Jack Nicholson (as cynical playwright Eugene O'Neill), "Reds" is a film that embraces love and politics without giving short shrift to either....more info
- Historical Love Story
I watched "Reds" the other night for the first time. I wondered how I may have perceived it had I seen it when it came out, a decade or so before the fall of the Soviet Union rather a a decade or so after it. I had to make a deal with myself; I was going to watch the movie and appreciate it as a movie rather than debate the merits of glorifying socialism. I must have succeeded in that approach because I gave the movie a 5 star rating. I felt an impressive aspect of "Reds" was the periodic inclusion of on-camera first person recollections. We saw the real witnesses of the persons, times, and events that we were watching. It certainly added credibility to what we were seeing unfold and it also added perspective. "Reds" is first and foremost a love story and the two lovers are (surprize!) Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton. I have to admit that the two of them did very good work. I have to give Beatty a good deal of credit for his role as director for which he, not surprizingly, won an Oscar. I'm sure that his hard work made it difficult to edit the film down to the normal two-hour feature film length. I'll admit that I watched the movie, on tape, over the course of three successive evenings but I don't think that I lost any appreciation of the film. I probably could have told you just what all could have been cut if I had watched it all in one sitting. I'll accept that some movies (and "Dr. Zhivago" comes to mind as a logical comparison) just need more time to tell a more expansive story.
Beatty plays Jack Reed who wrote "Ten Days that Shook the World" which did a lot of shaking of its' own when it came out. In pursuit of a combined socialist/journalist's dream, Reed found himself in Russia on the eve of the October Revolution. The scenes of that and other Russian events are quite impressive in "Reds". Long before we get to that point in time, we see a relationship develop between a class conscious writer and a wannabe class conscious writer. The emergence of love between the fighter of proletarian causes and the fighter of feminist causes makes for a different sort of love story. The expressed opinions don't always match up neatly with the heartfelt opinions. I give Beatty grudging praise for his ability and willingness to bring out this concept in "Reds" as well as his look at an imperfect political solution to a real social problem. While there is plenty of Leftist propaganda to duck, Jack Reed wasn't exactly going to morph into Ronald Reagan by the film's end. Yet Beatty allowed the passion of the Movement to come to life and the seeds of its' own destruction to also come to life in "Reds". The scene towards the end with Maureen Stapleton (another deserving Oscar-winner from "Reds") was brilliantly done with an economy of words that conveyed an abundance of nuance. Through it all is the oft-interrupted romance of Beatty and Keaton who seem to go to extremes in their seperations and reunions. I'm not sure I ever saw a "blockbuster" movie that was ever this passionate. The film's ability to maintain that passion over three houres is its' greatest strength ...more info
- At Last!!
Of all the movies released on DVD, this is a gem that's long been on my list to acquire. And just in time! My sorry VHS copy was wearing out.
I was in my early 20's when this film was originally released, being young, idealistic, wanting to challenge everything. It was easy to get caught up in the romance of the film -- the struggle with politics, both sexual and social. But this film has more staying power than most other early 1980's film releases. I found it to be Beatty's best effort and well deserving of the film awards it garnered.
Be forewarned. It helps if you have some understanding of world events during that era as well as knowledge of the movers and shakers of that period. My favorite witness -- Henry Miller! The quintessential "sponge"....more info
- A Cinematic Masterpiece
Reds is a totally brilliant masterpiece of a movie. I've been waiting for it to be on DVD, so thanks Mr. Beatty for doing a great job making this movie, and for finally putting it out on DVD!
- DVD, Reds
The DVD was in excellent condition when we received it. THE SELLER MAILED IT PROMPTLY and we received the DVD on December 27th. However, I felt that Amazon gave a misleading statement on the beginning page stating that if we ordered by a certain time we would receive the order for Christmas. As soon as I entered my credit card number a page popped up with a message that it would not be shipped until Dec. 29th....more info
- At Long Last: in DVD! Cheer and Cry Your Eyes Out
Twenty-five years ago, while in law school, I saw this three-hour-long movie six times. It was worth every ticket and minute. If you like history, politics, writers, romance, adventure, and cycles of idealism, cynicism, disillusionment and hope, this movie is for you. It's a true, panoramic story about the American left (who splinter and implode among themselves)and the Russian Revolution, taking place on two continents. Conservatives living in Red States probably will hate it, unless they are willing to look beyond ideology to more basic, human, tragic themes. In this movie, Reds are the good guys, but the good guys don't win. Cheer and cry your eyes out....more info
- Beatty's best fim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"REDS" seems to be taking longer and longer to get released on DVD. My VHS is so worn out that the audio is almost silent in some of the rally scenes. This is a movie that needs to be seen by the new generation of film goers. Yes, it's a little long, but every scene is perfectly timed and every performance is acted so expertly. This film holds a special place in my heart because after Gene Hackman did his three weeks of work on "Superman II", he decided to retire from show business. His brief, but electric scenes with his close friend Beatty made hime realize what he was missing. And the rest is history. Oh and Jack Nicholson as Eugene O'Neill is one of his most understated performances since "King of Marvin Gardens"
I doubt that Mr. Beatty will do a commentary track, but if he does, maybe Paramount can talk him into remastering "Heaven Can Wait" and add bous features to that classic....more info
- An epic film, well done
An epic movie chronicling the lives of John Reed (played by Warren Beatty), revolutionary during the early years of the 20th century, author of TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD (about the Communist revolution in Russia), and the only American buried in the wall of the Kremlin; and his wife Louise Bryant (played by Diane Keaton). Actually the movie is nothing more than your typical love story set against a strongly developed historical background. The use of "witnesses" who, in a documentary style, relate the historical events of the times (c.1914-1919) is excellent: their comments are interesting and engaging. The movie is an ambitious one - it shows a strong affinity and feel for the chaotic political times of the WW I era. Obviously a lot of care was taken to get things right - the look of things especially. The love story between Beatty and Keaton presents the most problems, maybe because finally it just seems so typical: boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married, have differences and split up, get back together again, etc. Keaton is to me a single-character actress (high-strung, always on the verge of going off the deep end), and her Annie Hall nervousness is misplaced here. She goes from a self-assertive, independent "artist-writer" to the sacrificial good wife who idolozes her husband. Jack Nicholson is good in a cameo role as Eugene O'Neill. A bit long at 195 minutes, but very well done and fascinating to watch, despite the problems.
Hopefully the DVD will be out very shortly....more info
- Dull Dull Dull
I saw this in the theatre in 1981. The dog sitting outside the bedroom door was the only interesting thing about this waste of celluloid.
Spend your 14.00 on a pizza, at least you will have satisfied your hunger....more info
- new Red's...
Cleaned up look, fast paced and well directed/acted....great way to spend a couple of hours....more info
- GREAT STORE
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR FAST SHIPMENT OF THE PRODUCT. IT WAS ALSO PACKAGED GREAT FOR A DVD. I WOULD USE YOUR SERVICES AGAIN....more info
- At the risk of sounding crass and superficial,
this film (and many of his other films) shows that Warren Beatty is far more than just a "pretty face". My hat's off to "WB".
Russophiles, lovers of romance, politics,the lost generation, and sweeping epics...do NOT miss this film. Those who love none of these things should ALSO see it. It is brilliant. I saw it first when it was released, and I was 19 years old. I left the theatre sobbing (ok, I was such a drama queen in those days), and when I saw it again last year I *still* cried. Moving, amazing, beautiful. I could hold forth on the specifics of the brilliance and accuracy (I've a background in the subject matter and am married to a Russian), but what really is the point. The only important thing is to SEE THIS FILM!!...more info