Saturday, March 14, 2020

On DVD: I Led Three Lives (1953)

In the post-war America of the late 40's  & 50's, there arose a new enemy.

The Communist Party sought to subvert America's ideals, and its members were pawns of the Soviet Union. There was even an anti-Communist comic book, How Joseph Stalin Hopes We Will Destroy America, a 1-shot that is among those hard to find items of the era.

In Hollywood, the answer to the infiltration of the Communists was to do dramatized series about normal citizens who infiltrated the party as covert agents of the FBI. There was a movie, "I Was a Communist For The FBI", starring Frank Lovejoy, which had a corresponding radio series with Dana Andrews in the lead. We'll look at that series another day. Right now, though, comes TV's entry into the counter-espionage race.

I Led Three Lives is based on the memoir of one Herbert A. Philbrick, who, at the direction of the FBI, infiltrated the Communists. Film star Richard Carlson was cast as Philbrick, and served as narrator. I Led Three Lives, produced by ZIV, ran for three seasons (1953-6).

Following is the intro:

Most of the plotting seems rather redundant, which makes it a miracle that the series lasted as long as it did.

Rating: B-.

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