Sight and Sound - 10/01/2012
"Who would have guessed that Leo McCarey's anti-communist jeremiad MY SON JOHN would one day look ahead of its time'"
Filled with the kind of Red Scare propaganda that must have delighted members of McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee, this drama chronicles the attempts of two All-American parents to save their son from the temptations of Communism. Unfortunately, they are too late. The arrogant and intellectual young man, a worker in a federal agency, returns home from a long absence spouting pro-Ruskie doctrine and deriding the beliefs of capitalism and US at every opportunity. Enraged at his son's mocking ways, he beans him with the family bible. Things get worse when an FBI agent shows up to tell the horrified parents that their son is an enemy spy. The mother blows a gasket and flies to Washington, DC where her son works to make him swear on the same book that the FBI agent is wrong. The son does so, but its a lie. The mother soon finds this out. She also learns that her treacherous son's girlfriend is a Commie. What's a mother to do' Fortunately, before it is too late, her son realizes the error of his ways and tries to double-cross his Pinko superiors. Unfortunately, it is too late and they shoot him and just before he gaspingly dies upon the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he tapes his final confession and gives American youth everywhere a potent message about honor. The star of the film, Walker, best remembered for his gripping portrayal of a psychopath in Hitchcock's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, died before production finished and so scenes from that film were spliced into MY SON, JOHN.