Watch This: The most gut-wrenching anti-Communist scare flick ever made

Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. This week: America celebrates its independence (and court victories), so let’s celebrate some excellent patriotic movies—or at least the ones that make us feel proud of our country.

My Son John (1952)

Robert Walker, troubled star of Strangers On A Train, died of a lethal interaction of alcohol and amobarbital, aged 32. At the time, Walker was working on a movie called My Son John, perhaps the most notorious of the early ’50s Red Scare movies—notorious not only because of Walker’s death partway through production, but also because it happens to be the only genuinely affecting entry in a historically disreputable sub-genre. It’s an anti-Communist film premised entirely on emotional appeal.

Admittedly, picking McCarthyist paranoia for this week’s theme might seem indecent, given that the Red Scare is …

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