For Russia, With Love

America’s Real Life Red Atomic Spy Confesses

A still from Compassionate Spy, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Two-time Oscar nominee and three-time Emmy Award winner Steve James’ compelling, confessional A Compassionate Spy is the latest in a current cinematic trend of nuke-related documentary and feature films that includes Oliver Stone’s Nuclear Now, Irene Lusztig’s Richland and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. Perhaps this vogue is emerging from the collective psyche now because of historic dates regarding the Manhattan Project and the fact that June 19 was the 70th anniversary of the electrocution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on June 19, 1953. Or because the war in Ukraine plus tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the USA are heightening.

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Ed Rampell was named after legendary CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow because of his TV exposes of Senator Joe McCarthy. Rampell majored in Cinema at Manhattan’s Hunter College and is an L.A.-based film historian/critic who co-organized the 2017 70th anniversary Blacklist remembrance at the Writers Guild theater in Beverly Hills and was a moderator at 2019’s “Blacklist Exiles in Mexico” filmfest and conference at the San Francisco Art Institute. Rampell co-presented “The Hollywood Ten at 75” film series at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and is the author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States and co-author of The Hawaii Movie and Television Book.    

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