This is an excellent play by David Karp, considerably more intelligent than the sort of simplistic anti-Russian propaganda that poured out of Hollywood in the darkest days of the Cold War. The subject has a ghastly fascination - to a modern viewer, it's reminiscent of the later "I, Claudius" in its revealing of a world where mortal danger is everywhere and plots and counter-plots, on the highest and deadliest levels, are commonplace. Melvyn Douglas casts aside the suavity of his MGM heyday to show a chilling, brutish charisma as Stalin, overflowing with contempt for even his most loyal aides; and he is equalled by Oscar Homolka's loud, vulgar Khrushchev (so very like the man we were seeing in newsreels at the time this was first aired) and by E.G. Marshall as the monstrous Lavrenti Beria.
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