It’s ‘Mission’ accomplished with pro-Soviet propaganda at BAM - Brooklyn Paper

It’s ‘Mission’ accomplished with pro-Soviet propaganda at BAM

Michael Curtiz’s 1943 propaganda film, “Mission to Moscow,” will screen at BAM on Jan. 12. Yes, Curtiz is the same guy who directed “Casablanca” one year earlier.

Everyone loves a little Soviet propaganda from time to time.

And nobody did it better than writer Howard Koch and director Michael Curtiz — the same creative team behind the 1942 classic “Casablanca.” Believe it or not, but just one year later, the pair put together a wildly biased piece of propaganda that made Stalin look like a saint.

Why did they do it? Because President Roosevelt asked.

Back then, audiences didn’t know they were being lied to. Brooklynites will have no excuse for misunderstanding the film at a rare public screening and discussion at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Jan. 12.

And just because it’s propaganda doesn’t mean it’s not fun to watch.

‘Mission to Moscow’ blatantly distorts history for political purposes — with great skill,” said New York Post movie critic Lou Lumenick, who will join the roundtable discussion and party (he asks visitors to bring flasks of vodka).

FDR used the film — based on an honest book by our Soviet Ambassador Joseph Davies — to gain support for our then-Russian allies during the war, portraying the Soviets as freedom-loving patriots (which, compared to the Nazis, they were!).

Critics attacked the movie’s shameless inaccuracies, noting that Davies himself had tight control over what they called an agitating and offensive script.

Lumenick will join bloggers Farran Nehme (The Self-Styled Siren), Glenn Kenny (Some Came Running) and film historian Ed Hulse to take a look at propaganda in movies then and now.

“Mission to Moscow” at BAM Rose Cinemas [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100].

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