I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

I Was a Communist for the FBI Videos

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Movie Info

The real Matt Cvetic was a borderline alcoholic with a nasty disposition (he once allegedly beat his sister-in-law so badly she required hospitalization). But Cvetic was also a fervent anti-communist, and so, for a brief period in the early 1950s, he was a folk hero. I Was a Communist for the F.B.I. is the semi-true story of how Cvetic (played by Frank Lovejoy) renounced his friends and family and embraced the Red cause--on behalf of the F.B.I., for whom he was a volunteer undercover agent. The film recounts how Cvetic used his job as a Pittsburgh steelworker to contact various American Communist cell leaders, and how he exposed their insidious plans to overthrow the American government. Since the script infers that among the Reds' "subversive" plans was the Civil Rights Movement, I Was a Communist for the FBI is an embarrassing experience when seen today. Cvetic's memoirs were better dramatized by a 1951 radio series of the same title, starring Dana Andrews.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Bros.

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Cast

Frank Lovejoy
as Matt Cvetic
Dorothy Hart
as Eve Merrick
James Millican
as Jim Blandon
Richard Webb
as Crowley
Ron Hagerthy
as Dick Cvetic
Paul Picerni
as Joe Cvetic
Frank Gerstle
as Tom Cvetic
Russ Conway
as Frank Cvetic
Hope Kramer
as Ruth Cvetic
Kasia Orzazewski
as Mrs. Cvetic
Edward Norris
as Harmon
Ann Morrison
as Miss Nova
Konstantin Shayne
as Gerhardt Eisler
Roy Roberts
as Father Novac
Paul McGuire
as McIntyre
Douglas Evans
as Chief Agent
Janet Barrett
as Secretary
Karen Hale
as Secretary
Frank Marlowe
as Worker
Michael Ross
as Foreman
Lenita Lane
as Principal
Alma Mansfield
as Teacher
Anne Kimbell
as Student
Paula Sowl
as Student
Erik Neilsen
as Jackie
Roy Engel
as Jackie's Father
John Crawford
as McGowan
Ernest Anderson
as Black Man
James Gonzales
as Brennan
David McMahon
as Masonvitch
Charles Horvath
as Good Leader
Phil Tully
as Irish Mick
Howard Negley
as Union Chairman
Bobby Gilbert
as Picket
James Adamson
as Picket
Barry Reagan
as Officer
Hugh Sanders
as Garson
Lyle Latell
as Cahill
Charles Colean
as Brakeman
Paul Bradley
as Lawyer
William Forrest
as Senator Wood
Bert Moorhouse
as Senator Gray
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Critic Reviews for I Was a Communist for the FBI

All Critics (2)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 5, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

Strange film mixes anti-Communism with far right politics, odd thriller elements.

Full Review… | August 1, 2013
Classic Film and Television

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | September 16, 2003
Boxoffice Magazine

A propaganda film from Warner Brothers about the Communist influences in America.

Full Review… | September 15, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for I Was a Communist for the FBI

Described as a film noir drama directed by Gordon Douglas, I expected something with a substance... petty that all it had was a propaganda machine from guys who are even better in doing things they accuse others of... but as the main character Mark Cvetic (Frank Lovejoy) said ,"(I) had the brains to see this slimy thing to what it is." The film was based on a series of stories written by Matt Cvetic that appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, and those stories were later turned into a best-selling book and radio series. It seems that most of the communists in America were simple thugs, racist, vindictive, and tools of a totalitarian foreign power, the Soviet Union - but that is with a reason. This film and radio show are, in part, artefacts of the McCarthy era, as well as a time capsule of American society during the Second Red Scare. The purpose of both are partly to "warn" people about the threat of Communist "subversion" of American society. The movie is really over-acted ultra-patriotic, very similar of what was made in Germany just few years before the World War II started. The story follows Cvetic, who infiltrated a local Communist Party cell for nine years and reported back to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on their activities. Frank Lovejoy wasn't too bad, but I just cannot stand unnatural dialogue and robotic acting which was shown by most of the actors including Dorothy Hart, Philip Carey, and James Millican. Think and tell me... which political party leadership members are not cynical opportunists, racists who are interested only in seizing power on behalf of their party and not in improving social and labour conditions not just in the U.S. but anywhere in the world? Which political group will not exploit ethnic tensions to get their way? I haven't witnessed one yet! There are honest people in all these groups but they never become leaders - they are just sheep for the wolves in a sheep skin. And it was always like that. Well, I look at this propaganda as an offence for those honest people, doesn't matter on which side they belonged. Thanks to my friend who recommended this, and I am glad I saw it - but for the different reasons - I am glad and at the same time very sad that I could realize how huge hatred could be towards fellow brothers and sisters because they just have different way of thinking.

Panta Oz
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

Oscar nominated, this action packed drama movie still is worthy of showing what it's like to be an informer to the FBI. You lose your family. You lose your dignity. After 9 years, it was nearly all over for our lead actor. Based on a true story. A propaganda type film, but still worth watching. [img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/23/I_Was_a_Communist_for_the_FBI_Poster.jpg/220px-I_Was_a_Communist_for_the_FBI_Poster.jpg[/img] Matt Cvetic (Frank Lovejoy), [img]http://www.greatdetectives.net/detectives/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/franklovejoy.jpg[/img] who works in a Pittsburgh steel mill, has been infiltrating the Communist Party for the FBI in Pittsburgh for nine years. During this time he has been unable to tell his family about his dual role, so they believe he is a Communist and despise him. [img]https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTJoaUIJMkikBYH7Z2RuV5argfzP0PEtrYjn4JuUAR0u5yj8GObIA[/img] The real agent Matt Cevtic The professional critic speaks: "A propaganda film from Warner Brothers about the Communist influences in America, that is as subtle as a sledgehammer conking you over the head. It's a Red Scare film with the Commies acting the part of gangsters. It's told in a gritty documentary-style ... [img]http://www.franklovejoy.com/images/43.-Finger-Man.jpg[/img] The film is based on the real-life experiences of Matt Cvetic. But the story is only partially true. It falsely glorifies him, as in real-life he wasn't a very nice person. The real Matt Cvetic was an alcoholic and had a nasty temper. Supposedly, he beat his sister-in-law so badly she required hospitalization. This is a troubling film for today because of its misinformation, though in its time it was very popular."-- film critic Dennis Schwartz [img]http://www.radiohorrorhosts.com/cvetictrial.jpg[/img] SEE the entire film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCTtvgrsOtM I Was a Communist for the F.B.I. is the semi-true story of how Matt Cvetic (played by Frank Lovejoy) renounced his friends and family and embraced the Red cause--on behalf of the F.B.I., for whom he was a volunteer undercover agent. [img]http://i.ytimg.com/vi/UCTtvgrsOtM/0.jpg[/img] Lovejoy as FBI agent NOTES: 1 The film is, in part, an artifact of the Senator Joe McCarthy era, as well as a time capsule of American society during the Second Red Scare. The purpose is partly to warn people about the threat of Communist subversion of American society. 2 This dramatic film was nominated for an Academy Award as the Best Documentary of the year. Frank Lovejoy as Matt Cvetic Dorothy Hart as Eve Merrick Philip Carey as Mason James Millican as Jim Blandon Ron Hagerthy as Dick Cvetic Paul Picerni as Joe Cvetic [img]https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQHSwumhHMqS1HiaoupHRoi32MyGfFyh1ibp6upwjNef0H7UgCfvA[/img] She could have exposed him but did not Directed by Gordon Douglas Produced by Bryan Foy Screenplay by Crane Wilbur Based on the SEP articles "I Posed as a Communist for the F.B.I." by Matt Cvetic Pete Martin Narrated by Frank Lovejoy Music by William Lava Max Steiner Cinematography Edwin B. DuPar Editing by Folmar Blangsted Distributed by Warner Brothers Release date(s) May 2, 1951 (Premiere-United States) May 5, 1951 (General release-United States) Running time 97 minutes Country United States Language English Box office $1.3 million [img]http://brightlightsfilm.com/72/72_images/72gmen_communistlobbycard.jpg[/img]

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

Excellent Cold War propaganda. Filled with over-simplifications and stereotypes, this film was nominated for Best Feature-length Documentary in 1951 due to some occasional historical references and that it was based on "true" events (many of which were fabricated).

Caleb McCandless
Caleb McCandless

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