Why was the movie “Goodbye America” banned?

Farewell, America! USSR, 1951. Director and scriptwriter Alexander Dovzhenko (based on the book by Annabella Bucard “The Truth About American Diplomats”). Actors: Liliya Gritsenko, Nikolai Gritsenko, Alexander Polinsky, Grigory Kirillov, Vyacheslav Gostinsky, Nikita Kondratyev, Yuri Lyubimov, Lyudmila Shagalova, Grigory Shpigel and others.

In 1951 were interrupted shooting one of the most striking film products of the “cold war” — a color anti-American film by Alexander Dovzhenko “Goodbye, America!”

There are several versions of the ban on this latest work by A. Dovzhenko (1894–1956).

Version 1: Dovzhenko showed too grotesque image of American diplomats / imperialists. Personally, this version seems to me the most unconvincing, as in other safely released films of anti-American orientation — “Meeting on the Elbe” (1949), “Conspiracy of the doomed” (1950), “Secret Mission” (1950), all this was also in excess.

Version 2. In 1951, the international situation changed, and the Soviet leadership decided to completely stop the production of anti-American films. The version is more logical, but also raises questions, as the international situation did not interfere with the launch and completion of filming in 1953, the anti-American film “Silver Dust” (which soon after the premiere, however, was also banned).

Version number 3. Stalin’s revenge personally Alexander Dovzhenko, on which L. Beria has already accumulated a pretty “dossier”. This version also seems untenable to me, as there are no reprisals against A. Dovzhenko after the ban on filming the movie “Goodbye, America!” did not follow. Thus, there was no point in stopping an expensive film project, which had been preapproved by all the censorship authorities, just to spite A. Dovzhenko, not to mention financial losses…

Version number 4. Personal whim of Stalin, who allegedly said about the author of the anti-American book A. Bucard, which served as the main script for the film “Goodbye, America!”, the following: “If she (ie A. Bucard) changed her homeland, it can change the new”, and ordered to stop shooting at halfway (in the end, was shot 50% of the two-part movie). The version is quite bizarre, but not devoid of meaning, as Stalin, as is known, was inclined to paradoxical actions in relation to the “creative intelligentsia” …

Conclusions. So, I can say that there is no unequivocal explanation for the ban on the movie “Goodbye, America!”, but readers of this text can watch this work by A. Dovzhenko online and put forward their version (or support any of the four above).

Alexander Fyodorov, 2020

Film Critic and Film Historian