“Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” – Sidney Lumet’s Epic Tribute to the CPUSA Screens Nov. 20 at NEIU

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University
Building E, 3701 W Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, November 20 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Sidney Lumet • 1983
Adapted by E. L. Doctorow from his roman à clef The Book of Daniel, about the aftermath of the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, this Reagan-era tribute to the Communist Party USA is one of the most neglected films of its era. Mandy Patinkin and Lindsay Crouse star as Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, City College radicals of the 1930s who eventually settle down in a Bronx radio repair shop where father lovingly deconstructs the structure of capitalism for his son with nothing more than a box of Wheaties. The arrest, trial, and eventual execution of these alleged atomic spies reverberates across the decades, as their grown children Daniel (Timothy Hutton) and Susan (Amanda Plummer) struggle to carve usable history out of this unique family cataclysm. Structured like a longhair Citizen Kane with grad student Daniel piecing together the meaning of his parents’ lives through contradictory interviews with Old Left acquaintances, Lumet’s film is an act of radical remembrance on a grand scale. (It helps that Lumet himself grew up in a Yiddish-labor milieu, working as a teenage actor in the WPA’s Federal Theatre Project, and could probably recite Paul Robeson ballads in his sleep.) Pettily lambasted upon its release for its refusal to render judgment on a three-decade-old espionage case, Daniel is ultimately about the inscrutability and ambiguity we all must abide when regarding our parents. (KW)
129 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Paramount
Presented in conjunction with HotHouse as part of “On Whose Shoulders?,” a series dedicated to re-examining the legacy of the Communist Party USA
Short: Willie Howard & Al Kelly in “Come the Revolution” (1941) – 3 min – 16mm

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