This epic-length movie of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 tells the story of a group of American Socialists/Communists and literary idealists who supported the cause. John Reed, Louise Bryant, Eugene O'Neil, Emma Goldman, and Max Eastman were caught up in the real life events that changed the world. Periodically, the film uses elderly witnesses to reflect their thoughts on the events from 60 years earlier. Bryant (Keaton) is a married artist and writer who feels stifled by her marriage and life in Portland, OR in 1915. She meets and seduces Reed (Beatty), then at his urging moves to New York City. In Greenwich Village she reluctantly falls in with his circle of revolutionaries, artists, and socialists namely Goldman (Stapleton), O'Neil (Nicholson), and Eastman (Herrman). She makes herself miserable acting like his wife despite their bohemian existence. Editor Horace Whigham (Plimpton) makes a pass at Bryant but also offers her a position to report on the war from France.
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In the summer living at the seashore, the gang performs plays, drinks, and debates politics. While Reed is away on one of his frequent ventures to promote socialism, O'Neil tries his best to seduce Bryant and succeeds. Reed returns home to a tense atmosphere between he, Bryant, and O'Neil, as he knows Bryant and his friend have been unfaithful. That night Reed proposes marriage. In 1916 they move into a house in Croton-on-Hudson. Unexpectedly, O'Neil has an encounter with Bryant where he professes his love for her in a poem he has written. When she tells him she and Reed are married, he leaves broken hearted and she hides the paper in a book. Months later Reed finds the poem, they have a huge fight, and she leaves for Paris. Reeds kidneys are passing blood. Bryant sends letters home saying all is well, but Reed learns from his editor Pete Van Wherry (Hackman) she was let go a month earlier.
Reed goes to France to find his wife. He tries to talk her into traveling to Russia to write about the revolution. He leaves for Petrograd by train and she surprises him by meeting him on board. They write about the countries growing unrest while meeting with Trotsky, Lenin, and others struggling for power over the disgruntled Russian workers. They return to the US to write a book about their experiences to be titled Ten Days That Shook The World. Reed embroiled in the politics of the American Communist Party movement is sent back to Russia as a liaison. He is unsuccessful in his efforts and becomes a political prisoner trying to flee Russia through Finland.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Fletcher