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Daniel: Directed by Sidney Lumet. With Timothy Hutton, Mandy Patinkin, Lindsay Crouse, Edward Asner. Daniel Isaacson attempts to determine the true complicity of his parents Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed for espionage in the 1950s.

“In filming E.L. Doctorowu0026#39;s fictionalized account of the Rosenberg case and its implications for the children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Sidney Lumet brought a good vision to the finished product. Lumet grew up in those times and had Iu0026#39;m sure peripheral associations with the kind of people that would have gone the same way as Julius and Ethel or in the case of the film and novel, Paul and Rochelle Isaacson. Lumetu0026#39;s love of New York also helps a lot in this film.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe fictionalized Rosenbergs are played by Mandy Patinkin and Lindsay Crouse. We get the idealism of the Rosenbergs, the history of persecution they felt, the empathy for other minorities. It should never be forgotten that it was Communists for their own reasons, but still were the first ones to take up black civil rights as a group cause. Radical politics and all, Patinkin and Crouse give their children a fine set of universal values to live by.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe real Rosenberg sons were adopted by another couple and to this day still try and claim a good legacy for their parents. In the film the title role of Daniel is played by Timothy Hutton and his sister is played by Ellen Barkin. Years after the executions of their parents they have continued the radical traditions of the parents, but theyu0026#39;re into the protest politics of the sixties, involved in a mass movement the parents only dreamed about, but hardly under the auspices of the Communist Party USA.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBarkin is caught up in the moment, but Hutton wants to clear his parentu0026#39;s names. In real life it was Ethel Rosenbergu0026#39;s brother David Greenglass who fingered both of them as Communist spies. Greenglass was assigned as a sergeant to Los Alamos and purportedly did the actual stealing of the atomic bomb design. In other words for the kids it was a beloved uncle.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThey should have kept that part of the story, but Iu0026#39;m willing to bet that E.L. Doctorow did not want to be sued by David Greenglass who is still alive now, so a family friend and hanger-on with the Communists played by Joseph Leon is the informer.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe highlight of the film is the confrontation scene with Hutton and Tovah Feldshuh playing the daughter of Joseph Leon. The growing up experiences of both are laid out naked and bare, the acting is some of the best both these players have ever done.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn real life Julius Rosenberg was guilty of being a ringleader of a nest of Communist spies. Ethel Rosenbergu0026#39;s guilt is far more problematic, the closest you could come to here is Mrs. Mary Surratt who ran the boardinghouse where Booth and his fellow conspirators met in the Lincoln assassination plot. Her son was part of the ring, but he fled the country so the country in the ill tempered mood it was in, countenanced the hanging of the mother instead. Ethel was probably supportive of her husbandu0026#39;s activities as a dutiful wife and nothing more.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhat is also clear is that the US government threw out the rulebook when it came to due process in the prosecution of the case. It was the times, you had to have been there.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAlthough itu0026#39;s not the real story, no more than Billy Bathgate was about Dutch Schultz, E.L. Doctorow and Sidney Lumet weave a very fine tale about some troubled times.”


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