They can’t show The Woman on Pier 13 ( a.k.a. I Married a Communist) this afternoon without hyperventilating:
When the film was finally released in its re-edited, bowdlerized form, it still failed to generate any interest among moviegoers and was a certified box office bomb, ending up with a deficit of $650,000 in relation to its costs. Today, The Woman on Pier 13 is a fascinating and highly entertaining example of anti-communist agitprop, but audiences at the time didn’t want to think about the communist menace. That’s the main reason it was a commercial failure just as similar efforts such as My Son John (1952) – with Robert Walker as a secret commie agent – and Big Jim McLain (1952) starring John Wayne, were largely overlooked by the public.
In many ways, The Woman on Pier 13 is a true noir, however, with a protagonist who is destroyed by his reckless past, bringing scandal or death to those closest to him. The “Better Dead Than Red” sentiment was never expressed more explicitly than in this film and the hamfisted dialogue is message-mongering at its most extreme: “It’s a pity that some of our members don’t understand…they can never leave the Party…until the Party’s ready to let them go.”