Mr. Jones and me

Posted On: Tuesday - March 28th 2023 5:46PM MST
In Topics: 
  Commies  History  Movies

This is a short movie review, since I just watched a very good political/history flick called Mr. Jones, as recommend by someone on-line. (That was probably on, but if it was here, please speak up - I'd like to thank you for this one!) This movie is from 2019. IMDB lists two other movies with this title, a 1993 one with Richard Gere as a Manic/Depressive guy and another 2013 one that says: A young couple moves to the woods and soon finds their nightmares and reality colliding.. (Hmmm, a prepper movie? - I may look for this one too.)

As for our post title, well, that's a pretty decent Counting Crowes song* from their heyday. I added "and me" also because I'm pretty down with the truth-seeking Mr. Gareth Jones, the star and actual historical character. He's my type of guy.

The story of Mr. Jones took place in the year 1933. Gareth Jones had recently been a foreign affairs advisor to fellow Welshman and former UK PM (1916-'22) (David) Lloyd George. Mr. George was of the Liberal Party, but not much of a big figure anymore by this time. Mr. Jones was let go by Lloyd George, on good terms, and he decided to do, or continue to do, freelance reporting. After having conducted an interview with Adolph Hitler, which amazed everyone in the movie (just timing) and got Mr. Jones rightly worried about the man, he decided to just up and interview Josef Stalin. Spoiler alert: That didn't happen. (Because this is history, with maybe some embellishment, I don't have any hesitation to include spoilers in the review of this movie.)

Gareth Jones obtained a visa and went to Moscow. This is where the movie's antagonist and real-life antagonist of things good and truthful comes in. That would be New York Times "Man in Moscow" and Pulitzer*** prize winner Walter Duranty. Giving the reader a Wiki reference here might seem a dumb idea, as their bias on not-exactly-factual stuff is too much. However, one might go there to see an example of Walter Durantyism in action on his own page. I'm sure the average Peak Stupidity reader knows that Mr. Duranty was a knowingly duplicitous booster of USSR Communism.

With a little messing around with his job recommendation letter from Lloyd George that he carried, in the age before White-Out, no less, Mr. Jones, got himself out of Moscow and on the way to the Ukraine to check out the breadbasket that was "Stalin's gold". What he saw there was horrific.

The situation was not as the foreign hobnobbing reporters and the Soviet handlers in Moscow had claimed. People were starving in the Ukraine in the event now knows as the "Holodomor". The Ukrainians were being forced to ship the grain they had grown there up to other parts in the USSR. Not only that, but it was bitter cold. The scenes here are bleak and extremely sad.

In this one scene from the movie, Gareth Jones is helping load a few bags of stolen grain, so as not to stand out as a reporter.

Multiple millions died there and then, from 1932-'33. Mr. Jones was an on-the-scene witness. Once he got back to Moscow after a harrowing journey, he had it out with Mr. Duranty, other reporters, and the Soviet apparatchiks.

I won't give you the whole of it, and also, other details from history were left out of the movie. The rest involves the verbal battle back home of "truths" between Duranty with his lies and Mr. Jones with his actual truth. Mr. Duranty won this in the short/medium-run, but I hope and think that Mr. Jones (long dead via murder in the USSR on another trip at 30 y/o) will win in the long term. This movie is helping.

Walter Duranty is made to look even worse as a man as I had thought of him before watching the movie. I also had no idea before about the countervailing efforts of Gareth Jones. There was a long and important period of time, the whole 1930s and right on through WWII, when the terrible effects of the Communism in Russia were not known well by the world. It was evil men like Walter Duranty - his reasons varying between wanting to live the good life and pressure - who were a big part of this.

In the range of 2 to 5 million people are believed to have been starved by someone more evil than the lying Duranty. That'd be USSR leader Josef Stalin. This was done to hide the economic failures of Communism*****. There are 2 factors of the evil here of Communism itself.

1) It can lead to the economic devastation like the Holodomor. Things something like this happen about every time Communism is tried.

2) That Communism must include Totalitarianism to continue to reign long means that there can be men with the power to make something like this happen.

Movies showing the evil of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis must number in the hundreds. Those that show the evil of Stalin and his Commies are very few. I applaud the makers of Mr. Jones for their excellent work. That this movie is only 4 years old is very surprising.

2 thumbs up from Peak Stupidity! Caveat: This is not a date movie. (Unless your date is also a member of the John Birch Society...)

PS: Seeing as this IS a review, OK fine: The casting, the lighting, the set decorations, all the production values****, they're fine. As long as a movie is not blurry, jerky, or woke, I don't care about all that.

There is a very pretty woman involved (playing one of the reporters), but nobody gets even to 1st base with her in the movie. (It was probably better in real life or off the set.) It's bleak******, but it's history.

* That song came out almost 30 years ago. I never understood the meaning of the lyrics, but it had a good melody.

** I really wonder if the use of the term "journalist" in conversations throughout this movie was historically correct. Was the term in use in 1933? I remember "reporter" being used during my early lifetime.

*** For my whole life, I thought it was "pull-it-zer", but they pronounced it "Pew-lit-zer".

**** Thanks you, Alarmist, for the term.

***** Some claim a genocide factor too. I don't know.

****** One other thing besides ** that I think may be off is this: Would the Ukraine in March (when Mr. Jones was to arrive per the visa bureau lady) be THAT cold and snowy then? Maybe it was an extra hard winter.

Thursday - March 30th 2023 2:15PM MST
PS: I didn't have to paste it in yet, to know that's the Dead song. I picture your Minnesota and the Dakotas (Wisconsin and much of Iowa too) as being like Poland and maybe the western part of Russia. The Ukraine is farther south, and some of it - maybe just the Crimea - has the moderating effect of the Black Sea. Anyway, I should have looked up the climate in one of the cities near the one in question on NOAA - having trouble finding the dang page I used to look at.
Thursday - March 30th 2023 2:12PM MST
PS: That Cyrillic "Я" was just there as kind of a symbol to show that the Russkies are part of the plot. I wouldn't assume that, even if that were the Cyrillic version of "Mr. that it'd be pronounced the same way. If I knew any languages better, as you do, it's probably piss me off too, just like scenes in settings that I know about which are just done wrong. Spend a few minutes and ASK someone, before you start filming!

Thank you very much for the recommendations of "East/West" and "The Inner Circle", Mr. Ganderson!
Thursday - March 30th 2023 10:24AM MST
Oh, and as one who grew up on the northern plains, I can testify that March can indeed be very cold and snowy. Often during March I'd have to go out in the "Cold Rain and Snow."
Thursday - March 30th 2023 10:17AM MST
Mr. Moderator, One thing that bugs me is when the movie title creators use the Cyrillic "Я" instead of the Latin "R"- it's a different sound, dammnit!

As you say, though, the movie was good. I hope Duranty is rotting in hell.

A couple of other movies to check out:

East/West; a French movie about a Russian doctor and his French wife who move back to the Rodina to help rebuild the place after WW II. And the horrors they encounter!

The Inner Circle with good old Tom Hulce, AKA Larry Kroger from Animal House, and Mozart from Amadeus, as Stalin's projectionist. Lolita Davidovitch plays the wife, and Bob Hoskins plays Beria.
Wednesday - March 29th 2023 4:08PM MST
PS: I hadn't heard of either the book or movie, Mr. Corrupt. I've heard of a few Hollies songs though, so it's probably good.

Yes, Dieter. It's pretty good, if you like history movies. It doesn't have the action and the continuous suspense music like a Jason Bourne movie, the latter of which I could do without. Maybe it's more like Doctor Zhivago - some history with some personal sagas too... but not as long.
Dieter Kief
Wednesday - March 29th 2023 9:23AM MST
Thx. Mod. - that sounds a lot like an ok movie. Rare.
Al Corrupt- I do have parts of the title song from Nekko Case's CD Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, playing in my head.
Al Corrupt
Tuesday - March 28th 2023 6:00PM MST

For some strange reason this article reminded me of a strange movie I once saw, and an unrelated song with a similar name… the movie is “The Fox”, and the song is “After The Fox”, by the Hollies.
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