DIRECTOR: WARREN BEATTY
CAST: WARREN BEATTY, DIANE KEATON, JACK NICHOLSON, PAUL SORVINO, JERZY KOSINSKI
"Elizabeth Hardwick said of John Reed, the young American journalist and charming enthusiast of the Russian Revolution whom Warren Beatty portrays in Reds, that it was "early death that made him legendary, always bright and free of the ruins of time." He died of typhus in 1920, in the Soviet Union, and was buried in the Kremlin walls. He was an American American, as Lenin called him, a once "treasured child of the bourgeoisie," in Hardwick's words, "a westerner from Oregon, a graduate of Harvard, tall and good-looking in the old Greenwich Village gifted days," a beguiling idealist. Reed met Louise Bryant, played by Diane Keaton, in Oregon, brought her back to New York, and married her. She was not as inspired as a witness and journalist as he was. Still, if he was a voyager, then she was, too. Reds is the story of their journey into what Reed believed was the future. It is "a romantic celebration of American radicalism," Hardwick observes, "a celebration of love, vitality, and bohemianism." Beatty not only stars in the film, he wrote, directed, and produced it. Released in 1981, a time of conservative reaction in America, Reds conveys a powerful message about freedom and its human costs."—Darryl Pinckney
Darryl Pinckney is the author of two novels, High Cotton (1992) and Black Deutschland (2016) and two works of non-fiction, Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature (2002) and Blackballed: US Democracy and the Black Vote (2014).