Daniel (1983) - full transcript

The fictionalized story of Daniel, the son of Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed as Soviet spies in the 1950s. As a graduate student in New York in the 1960s, Daniel is involved in the antiwar protest movement and contrasts his experiences to the memory of his parents and his belief that they were wrongfully convicted.

Electricity is a form of energy.

It is generated by power sources
driven by water,

steam, or atomic fission.

The two leading electric
power producing countries

in the world are
the United States of America

and the union of the Soviet
socialist republics.

The theory of electricity
is that atoms

gain or lose electrons.

Thus become positively
or negatively charged.

In this way,
a current is produced

and a current is designed
to flow through a circuit.

In 1889, the first
electric chair

was put into use
by the State of New York

and it was hailed
as the most humane means

of putting someone to death.

Or as electrocution,
the condemned individual

is simply made a part
of the circuit.

Now who will be a witness

for my lord

yes, who will be a witness

for my lord

now who will be a witness

for my lord

who will be a witness

for my lord

give peace a chance

all we are saying

is give peace a chance

No more war! No more war!

No more war! No more war!

No more war! No more war!

No more war! No more war!

Get out of here!

Look at this.

How horrible.

Can you believe it?

And what they aim for
is your crotch.

Forget want
to think about the police today.

We want
to have a nice holiday dinner.

The turkey is cooling.

And Robert,
you will mentally prepare yourself

to carve in just a few moments.

So, to get back
to the subject...

A foundation.

The Paul and Rochelle Isaacson foundation

for revolutionary studies.

Did you know
anything about this?

Well, uh... Your sister's
been thinking about it,



She has been talking
to some people here

and in New York.

She asked me if it's
technically feasible,

which it is. This is the year

you come into equal
possession of the trust.

The way Ascher set it up,
there are no conditions.

It's our legacy, Daniel.

What the movement
needs is money.

We can do great things together.

Well, I mean, suppose...

You know,
I happen to feel that demonstrating

and getting busted
is not the way to do great things.

All right. That's fair.

Resistance is
just one thing, one alternative.

But there are
other things going on


I'm going through changes
every day of my life.

So is everyone.

The proper stance...

I believe, is not to
criticize from the outside,

but to get inside
and help create.

Susan, how is it
whenever you present me with an idea,

you know, or ask me
to do something,

it's in... it's in
a way calculated to turn me off?

Maybe because not much is
required to turn you off.

Let's try to keep the discussion

at a reasonably high plane.

I try to, Robert.

But anything that comes from me
is automatically suspect,

right, Daniel?

No, no. No.

It's just that I hear about it

almost as a privilege,

you know, after
the decisions have been made.

Forget it, Daniel, ok?

Forget I said a thing.

This really
makes me sad. It really does.

Here we are in this
horrible imperialist war,

we're burning people in Vietnam,

and the issue is
how I happen to talk.

No, I'll tell you
what the issue is,

the issue is if you want
to give away your money,

why not just do it? I mean,

what do you got
to put the family tag on it for?

What do you have
to advertise for?

Because the name Isaacson
has meaning.

It's important.
What happened to the Isaacsons is history.

Do you hear that?
She fucking calls

her own
mother and father the Isaacsons.

Look, you two,
if you can't conduct a civil discussion...

I'm not ashamed of my name.

I'm proud of who I am...

Unlike you.

You should see the schmucky
way you come on in this world.

Well, that may be.

But I don't think a foundation

is necessarily a good idea

just 'cause it has
the name Isaacson.

How's it going to
work? Who's it for?

What'll it do?

Well, why not just let it...

Happen? Give it a chance!

You cop out
with this phony cynicism.

Maybe you have a better idea what
to do with that blood money.

That blood money
earned you a college education,

straightened your teeth.

Why can't you just admit
that you're a selfish prick?

I don't want the bread.

I mean, I thought...

I thought
we'd give it to the Lewins.

No. As guardian,

that's the one alternative
that I can't permit.

Yeah? Well,
you ought to reconsider.

You're just due
for all the bullshit

you put up with
the last dozen years.

Don't worry, Daniel.

You can forget
about the foundation.

It doesn't need you.

Go back to your life.

Take this milk cow
with you and go back home.

If this doesn't stop
right now, I'm not serving.

Go back to the stacks, Daniel.

The world needs
another graduate student.

I don't have to go
out and get clubbed

to... to justify my existence!

No, you'd rather jerk off
behind a book!

Stop it, you two!

Susan, you're
not handling this very well.

Yes, she is! She is, she is!

She's a revolutionary!

She's been to the barricades!

She's got all the answers!

Once it was sex.

Sex was going to do
it for you, right?

Then it was acid.
Acid was going to do it for you.

Remember that, Susie? Huh? Huh?

And before that, it was God.

You knew all about God!

And now it's revolution!

The revolution!

I thought we did
that! I thought we'd been through that!


I don't believe it.


I don't believe you.

You really think...

he thinks they were guilty.

That's why he's like this.
Can't you see?

I mean, what did they die
for? This piece of shit.

Susan, please.

My mother and father
were murdered!

Why do you let him
sit here and do it again?

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!

Wages up, hours down!
Make New York a union town!


Capitalist goons!


Look out!



You go to city?

At night.

Me, too.

The fascists
are taking Europe, the world is dying,

and you're playing
Trotsky as politics!

There would be no Hitler
today if not for Stalin.

True or not? That is simplistic!

Where was Stalin
when united front and Germany

have kept Hitler was seizing power?

Now you're all
big anti-fascists.

We're prepared
to grant you your righteousness. What then?

Remember how you
broke up our meeting?

Your people threw
chairs. I remember.

Yesterday we were social fascists.
Today, we're your comrades.

You're a simplistic sectarian.

No, I'm not. I'm Jewish.

Then maybe you'll
explain to the Jews

in Nazi concentration camps

the fine points
of your dialectic!

What about Spain?

What about
the Trotskyists in Spain?

I have to get home.

I'll see you home.

Don't be foolish.
All the way to the Bronx?

First you have to ride downtown.

So what?

I can't invite you in.
My mother.

I'll picket your mother.

"And this possibility
now exists.

"The seizure of the means
of production by society

"puts an end
to commodity production

"and therewith to the domination

"of the produce
over the producer.

"To carry through this
world-emancipating act

"is the historical mission
of the modern proletariat,

"and it is the task
of scientific socialism

"to bring to the consciousness
of the now oppressed class

"the conditions and
the nature of the act

which it is its destiny
to accomplish."

I had a meeting.

A meeting.

With a boy?

He's not my boy.

Mama, would you like me
to ask him to dinner? Even tomorrow.

And the three of us
can spend an evening.

50 cents for my car fare,
$2.00 for my allowance.


I gave $3.00
to the Scottsboro boys.

The Scottsboro boys?

Mama, we're trying to keep
them from being lynched!

As God protected papa
from the sweatshops.



We shall not be moved

prouder is our leader

we shall not be moved

just like a tree

that's standing by the water

we shall not be moved


Prouder is our leader

we shall not be moved

prouder is our leader

we shall not be moved

just like a tree

that's standing by the water

we shall not be moved...

And those who excuse
the infamous Munich betrayal

are loudest
in their condemnation

of the non aggression pact.
And why?

Because by forcing Germany
to sign this pact,

with one stroke of the pen,

the Soviet union
overturns the design

of Western imperialists.

Hitler's warrings are
contained in the East,

and mankind is diverted

from the abyss
of darkness and destruction.

The Soviet union is
the only socialist nation in the world,

and she has done something
for the world

which the world
will someday understand,

if it doesn't already.

Fantastic, comrade. Fantastic!

Great honour!

A great honour! Thank you, sir.

I'm Dr. Selig Mindish,
the camp dentist.

This is my wife Sadie.

A pleasure to meet you.

Sadie. And my little girl Linda.

Oh, you were wonderful.
You were just wonderful.

Hello, Linda.

Wait, wait, wait.

Paul! Paul! Paul!

Right here! Right here!

Comrade Bernheim? Yes?

Paul Isaacson.

Hello, Paul.

He's brilliant, brilliant.

Nice to meet you.


A gold and a cup.

This is my friend Rochelle.

Hello, Rochelle.
Nice to make your acquaintance.

I got to hand it to him.

Imagine making
a radio technician of Paul Isaacson.

Well, you know something?
I do it well.

I was first in my training.
I understand the army.

I get along with the men.

In basic, I pulled my weight.

I was determined
those crackers would not have the occasion

to laugh at a Jew from New York.

I ran with the heavy pack,
I climbed ropes,

I crawled under machine gunfire
with real bullets.

I did the push-ups,
and they came to respect me.

And at night,
in our bull sessions,

I told them our beliefs,
and they listened.

And you know...

Those Georgia crackers
living down there in the red Clay,

they taught me a few things...

the dignity of ordinary men...

And the unsung heroism
of men who work the earth

with their hands,

and the good common sense
of the masses

who have not had an education.

And now, Paul.

What now?

Ah, who knows?

I don't have my orders yet.

God forbid you should
end up overseas.

Why "God forbid"?

Should we let the Soviet union

fight our battles for us?

I'd be proud to be a part
of the second front,

to meet our gallant
Soviet allies

and to link arms with them.

She was depressed,

but that was nothing new.

We wanted her
to come home for the weekend.

She said she had plans.

I didn't realize.

She was making her classes,

she was doing her work.

Well, it's the politics.

Last winter when Susan
terminated therapy,

I warned her not
to get too involved.

All that radial stuff.

Who gets a strawberry
ice cream soda?


But of course she did.

SDS, resistance. Who knows what?

In this family,
descent is traumatic.

It's understandable.

She bit off more
than she could chew.

Susan's a wilful person.

I have great faith in her.

If you're not
finishing that, pass it over here.

Of course, I would be
insulting your intelligence

if I didn't admit
that this is a pretty serious business.

She's been down before
but this is the worst.

What'd you do,
put ketchup on this?


You... you put ketchup
on a club sandwich.

Why not ketchup?

On the other hand,

she's got tremendous resources.

We'll get her all settled
and then we can go to work.

You don't put ketchup on
a club sandwich. Yuck.


Would you like something else?
How about ordering something?

No, thanks, dad.

I'd still have to sit here

and listen to this schmuck
doctor talk about my sister.

Daniel, I hope that you are prepared
to apologize to Dr. Duberstein.

What is it about Susan and me

that makes anyone
feel privileged

to say anything at all to us?

Who is this creep?
Who needs him?

I called Dr. Duberstein
because I think we need him.

Very badly.

I think Susan needs him and I don't
think you're handling yourself well.

She stopped going
to him because he was no fucking good.

Now he can't even get
her out of there.

Can't get her out
of a public asylum for wards of the State.

Bums they pick up
off the street.

One more night
in what happens to be

one of the best hospitals in the
east is not going to hurt her.

The situation's under control.

We are a little late.

I can tell from here
a tremendous crowd.

You should feel proud.
Do you hear it?

Now, when you get up there,

keep your hands up,
stand straight,

don't slump, so that
everyone can see you.


I have something in my eye.

We have no time, Susan. Come.

Just a minute, Mr. Ascher.

Please, Daniel, we are late.

This is very important.

Hurry! Hurry!

I ask you, is this our
so-called American justice?

Is this an example to the world
of American fair play?

Can anyone believe this
heroic young couple,

torn from their homes, separated
from their precious children

are being persecuted
for anything more

than their proudly held
left-wing views?

For believing... for believing
in the dignity of man

and the right of each
and every individual to the...

These are the children.

These are the children.
Let us through, please.

I got their children. Please.

The trial of Paul
and Rochelle Isaacson.

All the world
looks on with horror

at this blatant
persecution of people...

The platform. Please.
Get the children up there.

The children.


Careful. The children.

Let them by.

Susan! Susan!

The children.

Here are the children!

Be careful, be careful.


Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Here are the children!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them! Free them!

Free them.

Are you ok?

She was on her way to New York.

Perhaps to see you.

I don't think so.

Dan, I see no reason

why you shouldn't
hold onto the car...

Till she gets better.

We should have
spent more time...

We should've never
stopped talking.

She's a separate person, Daniel.

You lead separate lives.

You know, maybe when
she gets better,

Susan can come stay with us.

I really want her to.

We would love her
and the baby would love her.

Daniel, this is an illness,

and like any other illness,
it'll be treated.

Well, what if she's...

Not ill?

I mean, what if she's...


Buy everything mommy
asked for, Daniel?


See you got your
favourite cereal.

Who's on the back?

Joe DiMaggio.

Why you suppose
they put his picture on a box of cereal?

'Cause he's strong.

That's right.
And although it doesn't say so

in so many words,
it puts an idea in your mind...

that if you eat this cereal,

you'll be strong like he is.

Yet if you look
at the nourishment

this cereal contains,

you'd see
you'd do better with ordinary oatmeal.

Oatmeal has lumps.

So they're lying,

and that is what
advertising is...


Now, uh... Of course
not Joe DiMaggio,

but one or another

of your baseball heroes,

he sells his name
and his picture

to the cereal company for money,

saying he eats their cereal

when in fact
he probably drinks beer

and he smokes cigarettes.

Yeah, it's funny.

But what is
he but a worker like anyone

who earns his bread
by his labour?

And the fact
that he plays a game called baseball,

that makes no difference.

He is no better than the man

who works in a factory.

Do you know why?

Because he doesn't own the team.

That's right.

You're very smart.

But at least he plays.

And there are Negro
baseball players,

marvellous athletes

who are not allowed to play

because of?

Because of Jim crow.


No matter how good they are.

Truman announced today...

it's working.

Hi, grandma.


The smell is terrible.

Can you open the window?

All the windows are open.

Maybe if the driving
were smoother,

the children would
not get carsick.

Everyone had
the same idea today.

I find no fault in the driving.

Paul, that's nonsense.

Foster and Dennis are in jail.

The party is a shambles.

Under Browder... Browder?

All right, all right.
But under Browder,

the party was at least
connected to something.

Now we're alone.

And what they're not destroying,

we're destroying ourselves.

Sometimes I wonder
what's happened to our lives.

I find it hard
to remember what we've accomplished.

So, things are bad
at the moment.

They're very bad.

The party's had some effect,

or there would be
no reaction, huh?

What have we done
for the working class?

Is it nothing? And the Negroes?

You having a good time?

Yep. Heat and the traffic,

they don't matter now, do they?


Ocean's beautiful, huh? Uh-huh.

So you see?

Some things are worth
the effort, huh?


Ha ha ha ha!

Sadie, how are ya?

Daniel's a good boy.

This is for a good boy.

Daniel is a good boy.

Can't I go?

It's time to go!

I'm ready.
The sandwiches are in the icebox.

Can't I go?

Your father's in charge.

Please, Rochelle,
don't start that.

If there was the slightest
chance of trouble,

do you think I'd let you go,
let alone the boy go?

Be sensible.

Don't talk to me
of being sensible.

There's a court order,
for God's sake. What could happen?

Well, what's the problem?

No problem.

We're having a meeting
in the bathroom.

We're deciding
whether to take Daniel.

My Linda's coming. Why not?

Lots of children are going.

Is the little prince
afraid to go?

Don't you want your son

to hear one of
the great voices of our time?

Is it such a terrible
crime if he can see Robeson,

the great people's artist?

Danny, go get your blue jacket,

and tie your shoelaces
and pull up your socks,

and then when you get
back, I want you to go to the bathroom

even if you don't have to.

Come on. It's about time.

Grandma's running away again.

I see. Don't worry.

Why is grandma crazy?

She can't stand
the torment of her life.

Far and wide
as the eye can wander

heathen folk are everywhere

not a bird sings out to cheer us

folks are standing
gaunt and bare

we are the people's soldiers

we're marching
with our strengths

to beyond


How's your wife?


Your baby?

He's fine, too.

He's fine.

He came along.

He's downstairs.

It's serious.

Mm, no. I don't think it's...

I don't think it's so serious.

But the Lewins, too.

Uh, yeah,
their car just... just pulled in.

That's pretty serious...

When my whole family's here.

How su-supportive...

Of miss.


Good God, am I going
to have to see them?

And I like Ira, believe me.

I got to believe that gnome.

No matter how bad it gets,

you and I can never
bring him down totally.

And that's
his saving grace, isn't it?

The right to do irreparable harm

is a blood right.



It's just that I...


I'm so overcome with it.

Overcome with
the calamity of it.

Hey, it's ok.


And I feel like, uh...

And I feel like, uh,
something's been, uh...



I forget what...

What it is you're
supposed to expect

from being alive.

It's ok.

It's ok.

Glad you came.


You know,
I had something to tell you.

I can't remember what it was.

I can't.

They're still
fucking us, Daniel.

You get the picture?

Drawing and quartering
was a form of execution

favoured by the English kings,

except if he was an aristocrat,

in which case,
he was simply beheaded.

The offender was hanged
and cut down

before he was dead.

Then he was emasculated,

And his entrails were set on
fire in front of his eyes.

This ritual was completed
with a hacking

of the body into four parts.

The quarters being
thrown to the dogs.

Where did you get that?

It was on order.

Can I take it home?

Just a minute, Danny. Come here.


Mindish has been arrested.


Keep your voice down.

Early this morning,
while I was eating breakfast,

the FBI comes,
takes him downtown.

Oh, my God.

Well... Don't say
anything to anyone.

You just, um...

Go about your business

and let everything
remain the same.

I get upstairs, we'll talk.

How do you know this?

Sadie Mindish told me. I don't
understand the brains of some people.

She says Selig wanted me.

No, he tells her to call me.


What did he do?
You got to keep count.

Where is Dr. Mindish?

They're insane.

They think he's done
something wrong.

Ah! That's my honey! Huh? Ah!

How's my little girl?

If they didn't arrest people,

they'd have nothing to do.

Do me a favour, Rochelle.

Take the groceries upstairs.

I'll be home at the usual time.

It's only the coming of fascism.

Why should we be surprised, huh?

I'm glad they arrested him.


He likes to hurt you.

He says stupid things.

Hi, mom.

Hello, Danny.


Stay out of there.

Hello there, young fellow.
Home from school?

What grade you in, son?

Yeah, right.

Well, uh, our lawyer's
just advised me

that, um, I don't
have to talk to you

if I don't want to.

A particular that you
neglected to mention.

Oh, yes, sir, Mr. Isaacson,

we were just hoping that
you would cooperate with us.

See, we're looking
for some information.

You're a friend of Dr. Mindish,

and you might be able
to help him.

I'll be glad to answer
any of your questions

in a court of law.

Are you denying now
that you know him?

I will answer any questions

in a court of law.

I don't know what they want.

They are fishy.

dumb, clumsy, obvious people.

"Polizei" don't have to be smart.

Don't worry.

Mindish is not going to suffer

from anything we say.

There's no reason to be afraid.

They're still here.


That's just part
of the treatment! Huh?

Damn them.

They can sit out there forever

for all I care, huh? Huh?

Come here.

You don't understand!
Do you understand that?!

You're not here all the time!

You're behaving
like a child. Now stop it!

You cannot expect
to handle this without a lawyer!

So, who do you recommend?

What's his name?
The first one you called.

He wants
no part of it. None of it.

I'm looking in the phone book!

Ascher. Jacob Ascher.

Maniacs... With guns!

They think they've got
John Dillinger.

Haven't you hounded us enough?

Can't you leave us alone?!


Let's go.

I'll kill you! I'll kill you!

I'll kill you!
I'll kill you! I'll kill you!



I suppose I'm a religious man.

For many years now,
when I've had the time,

I've been working on a book

showing the contributions
of the old testament

to American law.

What is happening today
in this country is paganism.

That's the only word for it.

He's been indicted,

along with Selig Mindish
and nine others,

for conspiring to violate
the espionage act of 1917.

Bail has been set at $100,000.

On the basis of what evidence?


A... conspiracy charge
usually requires evidence

like a confession.

Somebody in the conspiracy
has to say it existed.

What conspiracy?

In legal terms, it means simply

an agreement among people
to do something,

that they intended
to do something.


Is not accused
of stealing atomic secrets.

That is correct.

He's accused
of conspiring to steal secrets.

That is correct.

With Selig Mindish.

That is correct.

That doesn't sound as serious.

It's as serious as it can be.

But if they don't
charge espionage,

but only what,
intending to do espionage,

that means they have no evidence

that anything was done.

That... that is correct.

Well, isn't that weaker?

What evidence can you provide

of what was in someone's head?

Tell me. I don't understand.

As I said, a conspiracy

is, by its nature, secretive.

Only the people in it
can prove its existence.

That's why I think they
have forced a confession.

Who? How can they?

I think they have Selig Mindish.

Are you all right?
Are you all right?

Where's the boy? Daniel!

I'm all right.

Help! Bring your mother
a glass of water. Quickly!

My God. Oh, my God.

I think about moving
out of New York.

I think about it all the time.

You know, after Susan gets well.

Maybe we could go out west

or Northwest somewhere.

She's not going to get well.

Some small campus,
when you finish your degree.


It's conceivable.

She may not want to make it.

Daniel, don't talk like that.

She's planning to die on me.

It's the family tradition.

That's gross.

Listen, how can someone
with such a big arse

have such a small brain?

Now listen, my sister Susan
stopped off in the ladies' room

at a holiday inn
on the Massachusetts turnpike,

and she slit her wrists

with a stainless steel
razor blade.

I mean, wouldn't you say
something was communicated?


I guess.

You guess.

Well, what happened
when we found out?

What did we do?

We went up there.

We went to see her.

You're right.

So it was kind of
a summons, wasn't it?

I mean, what she did
acted on us as kind of a summons, right?

Daniel, when you're unhappy,

you always take it out on me.

Doesn't it bother you
that in Susan's mind

I've done as an adult,

including marrying you...

Is a waste?

Go back to the stacks, Daniel.

The world needs
another graduate student.

Why don't you just admit
that you're a selfish prick?

You cop out
with this phony cynicism.

I'm not ashamed of my name!
I'm proud of who I am!

I mean, what did they die for?

This piece of shit.

They're still fucking us,

You get the picture?

The cake is a big success.

I'm glad.

It's not smart
to come here, Ben. You're a foolish man.

Today we have only
police for company.

Police and photographers.

The party in its wisdom
has decided we don't exist.

Would you like more tea?

Don't fuss, don't fuss.

It's all right. I like
to have things to do.

I've been keeping
the store opened since the FBI unsealed it.

I thought Paul's
customers would want their property back.

We need every dollar
but nobody comes.

We're contaminated, you see.

What possessed him to do it?
Can you tell me?

All these years.

I just can't understand
what possesses a man

to do something so terrible.

To ruin a family,
the lives of children.

And I can't forgive
his wife either.

There's never been any love lost
between Sadie Mindish and me.

God knows what they
concocted between them.

Look, I want you
to tell your lawyer

that I'll make myself
useful in any way I can.

I'll testify as your
witness, anything.

Paul discussed this with Ascher.

Anyone who associates
with us is suspect.

He says he couldn't
bear the responsibility.

Neither could I, Ben.
It's enough to know you've offered.

Some financial help...

I miss him so.

Ascher says he's fine.

His letters say he's fine.

How can a man in jail be fine?

He's locked up
like some common criminal.

Good morning, Daniel.

You remember Mrs. Bittleman?

She was a friend
of your grandma's.

She's sitting with Susan.

Where are you going?

I have to go downtown

to testify
before the grand jury.

Thank God for Mrs. Bittleman.

She lost her son
Jerome in the war.

For her, misery has no politics.

How does this look?


You want to shut
the clasp for me?

Your father gave me this
before we were married.

This I won't pawn,
no matter what.


Don't go.

I don't want you to go.

But I have to go.

The government lawyers
want to talk to me about your father.

I'll be able to tell them
what a terrible thing they're doing.

I always forget
how young you are.

You are such a big, brave boy,

and you take
such good care of Susan,

I forget you're a baby, too.

I'm not a baby.

You're my baby.

I should be back
before you're out of school.

In case I'm not,

have a snack
and take Susan to the park.

For lunch, I made you
a peanut butter sandwich

and an apple.

In the icebox.

Your mama leave you here alone?

Mrs. Bittleman was here,

but she went home
to make us some dinner.

Ain't nobody told you?


Dear Jesus. Is on the radio.

I'm a widow. I have no one.

I stand on my feet
12 hours a day.

How can I afford to do
what you're asking?

Mrs. Stein,
I'm not asking you to do anything.

Paul's your brother, not mine.

God help me. I was always
the responsible one.

From the time we were children,

if you didn't
put his food in front of him,

he wouldn't eat.

If you didn't
hold his money for him, he would lose it.

It was always Frieda...

the good-natured slob.

They seem to enjoy
the television.

Do you have
a television, Mrs. Stein?

What? No. Who can afford it?

It's an expensive item.

When the dealer
comes to assess the belongings,

I'll tell him
not to include the television.

Can there be a greater tragedy?

My Paulie, a communist...

And worse.

What do you mean, worse?

God only knows!

I'm lucky if I keep my store.

If someone should
make the connection,

if someone should find out...

What are you saying?

How do I explain
who these children are,

how do I explain
where their parents are?

Their parents are in jail.

They're in jail
because their bail Bond is prohibitive.

It helps the government

how dangerous they must be.

If the shame
of that is too much for you,

say they're in Florida.

I don't blame him.

He couldn't help himself.

She is his ruination.

In school, he had a 96 average.

Townsend Harris High School...

which is nothing but
brilliant children.

And then
to go and get these crazy ideas!

All right. So you
join a radical club,

it's the thing to do.

He would
have outgrown all that craziness,

but she drove him.

She is the one who did this!

Mrs. Stein, do you
really want the children to hear all this?



What am I to understand
from your answer?

They can't stay here.

There's no money.

The black man can't take them.

The neighbour can't take them.

I can't take them.

Babies. What do
I know from babies?

Where will I put them?

What do they eat?


They are not animals
from the zoo.

Have you no pity?

Don't... don't you
know what trouble is?

Don't you know
what terrible trouble these people are in?

Go ahead. Take it.

I'm not making promises.

I'll do my best. But that's all.

You remember the trial?

We weren't allowed to go.

The government had no case.

All they had was Mindish,

the testimony of an accomplice.

They had to believe
it was possible

for a radio repairman
without training or education

to draw up plans of the most
sophisticated technology

and then reduce them

so they'd fit
on dental X-ray film...

it was all too much...

and that this stuff
was valuable to the Russians.

You know, it was insane.

The Russians had
everything they wanted.

They had their own men
right there on the spot.

You sure you don't
want something?

The New York times
is a big spender.

No, thanks.


The day after the times

ran my 10th-anniversary
reassessment piece on the case,

I was having lunch downtown.

And just as I'm leaving
the restaurant,

Red Foyerman comes up behind me.

The chief prosecuting attorney.

Well, he's judge Foyerman now,

of the Southern district.

It was a career-making case.

Everybody did well.

Anyway, uh, Foyerman
grabs my elbow

like it was a tit or something.

He says, "Jack, can't believe"

"that you let
the wrong guys get to you.

I can't believe
you buy their story."

"What story, red?

"You're not going to stand there
and tell me, without smiling,

that you guys had a case."

"Someday when you have
the time," he says,

"come up to my office.

And I'll show you some things."

What things?

It's bullshit.

They all talk that way.

Even before the execution,

when the heat was on
to commute the sentence,

they kept dropping these hints
about testimony they had

that they couldn't
reveal because of national security,

like there's supposed to be this big
report in the justice department?

Well, a friend of mine
in justice told me

if they had evidence like that,

they'd have used it, all right.

Well, there's a report,
all right.

The reason it's classified is
because it favours the defence.

I'm glad you popped up.

And I'm glad you're
alive and kicking.


Now what is the name
of your foundation, hmm?

The Isaacson
foundation for revolutionary studies.

What's it supposed to do?

We're going to fund
community action programs.

We're going to start
a magazine maybe,

raise revolutionary
consciousness, everything.

Great. Can you tell me
where the money is coming from?

Yeah. It's no secret.
It's our trust money.

That the old lawyer
put together...

from the defence committee?


How much?

Uh, well, I can
find out for you.

I haven't been counting.

That's beautiful.

You're all right.

Uh, where's your sister?

I'd like to talk to her.

Well, I don't think
she wants to talk to anyone right now.

She's recovering from the trial.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Yeah, I think I heard
something like that.

How old is she now?

Susan's 20.

And where is she?

Out of state.

That's all I can tell you.

Well, how about
your foster parents?

Can I talk to them?

Look, I don't care
about blowing our cover.

I don't think any
of us care anymore.

Whoever's interested,
they could have traced us up to Boston.

But I mean there are
certain family things

that have to be
settled by all of us

and not me acting alone.

I mean, we got
responsibilities to each other.

Kid, you called me.

Yeah, I know, but
I'm trying to lay the foundation

on you, not the family.

It's the same story, isn't it?


Don't worry. I don't
fuck around, but...

What you're trying to do
is impossible.

What? Clear their names.

No, that's not what
we're trying to do.

Oh, sure, sure, sure. Well,
let me tell you something.

A radical is no better
than his analysis. You should know that.

Your folks were set up
on a bad rap.

But that doesn't mean
they were innocent babes.

Well, I don't believe they
were a dangerous conspiracy

passing defence secrets,
but I don't believe either

there was a conspiracy
in Washington against them.

I thought you said
the evidence was phony.

That's right. Those guys had
to bring in a conviction.

That was their job.

In this country, people
don't get picked out of a hat

to be put on trial
for their lives.

Your parents were
up to something.

They had to be.

They were little
neighbourhood commies

with a third-rate operation.

Probably meant Bupkus.

What they were doing was
worth maybe five years. Maybe.

But that would've been
in the best of times.

In the best of times, nobody would
have cared enough to falsify evidence.

Nobody would have
been afraid enough to throw a switch.

One of the most
emotional moments

in the history of congress.

General MacArthur stood
and spoke

as a nation
stopped and listened.

I know war as few other men...

hi, my dearest Danny.

What do you think of Brooklyn?

Is it interesting?

Have you made any friends yet?

I know it's boring for you
to be out of school, my honey,

but this is only temporary.

In the meantime,

you should get aunt Frieda
to take you to the library

and get lots of books.

Mr. Ascher, Uncle Jacob,

is trying to get you into
the public school there

but that
may take a few more days.

My beloved little Susan

will go to nursery school.

Listen, my dear sweetheart.

Uncle Jacob will
be bringing a present

for each of you from us.

I hope you enjoy it.
Your father and I discussed

what we would get
you in our letters

since we are in different jails,

and we have asked him
to purchase it

from the store
and bring it to you.

By the way, I'm writing
this for your father, too.

He wants to tell you
not to worry about us

because we are fine,

and everything
is all right with us,

even though
we miss you very much.

Please write me again,
my sweet angel boy.

I enjoy your letters so much.

Tell me what is on your mind.

You are such a comfort to me.

Please cooperate with your aunt

and take care of your sister.

I know you'd do that
without my even asking.

And before you know it,
we'll all be together again.

With lots and lots of love,

your mom.

Settle down here!

What is this, some fucking zoo?

All right. Come on.

Now, listen, somebody get
El stupido down in his bed.

Otherwise, he'll
stand there all night.


All right. No more
trouble tonight, you hear?

Otherwise, I'm kick some arse.

I catch anybody jerking off,
I'm gonna tie it in knots.



Hey! Get back here.


How many times do I
have to tell you?

To stay with your own...

Why you little bitch!

So, let's forget
your throwing the tray.

I would probably have
done the same thing if it was my sister.

It's Susan who worries me.

She's giving us
a very hard time.

She doesn't eat. She keeps
the other kids awake.

She won't cooperate in anything.

Do you have any ideas?

I mean, what do you think
the problem is?

She thinks it's a jail.



In jail, people
are kept apart from each other.

Well, there are rules here.

The boys are in one section,

the girls in another.
Those are the rules.

Sir, that's like a jail.

Dan, this is not a jail.

It's the east Bronx
children's shelter.

Did I ask you to come here?


Did I force Susan to come here?



Then how could it be a jail?

I don't know.

You're here because your parents asked
the city if you could stay here.

Are you saying
your own parents would put you in jail?

They don't put children in jail.

In this country, they don't put
anyone in jail without a trial.

My mother and father
haven't had a trial.

Well, they're...

They're waiting for their trial.

Why can't they wait
at home with us?

I don't know, Dan.

I'm not a lawyer.

Maybe, uh, they're...

The government's
afraid they would try and run away.

Well, they wouldn't
be afraid of that

unless they were
going to kill them.

Have you discussed this
with Susan?


Does Susan think

this is a jail where
children are killed?

All right.
Do you have to go to the bathroom?


I don't know where
to find any bathroom.

So you better go now,
just to make sure.

I'll wait for you.

I don't.

Now the most important thing

is to listen to me carefully.

Do what I tell you,
and don't argue.

Say you promise.

I promise.

Get ready.


Don't run.

'Cause if you run,
lot of people will notice you.

This little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

this little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

this little light of mine

I'm gonna let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

Not so fast.

You're going to make me fall.

Everywhere I go

I'm gonna let it shine

Are you tired?


Everywhere I go

I'm gonna let it shine

everywhere I go

I'm gonna let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

What are you crying about?

I'm not.

Oh, the cool of night

How much more?

Are we going to be there soon?

Be quiet.

All through the night

I'm gonna let it shine

all through the night

I know where we are!

I can see our house!

Let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

What can I tell you?

Some people are singled out.

I would run away, too.

Thank God I knew where to look.

Do you enjoy
these Halloween presents?


This family has given me
itself as a present.

Oh, my children.

What can I tell you?


Soon we will be in court.

We shall have our trial.

Knouting was the primary
means of punishment

for capital offences
in Czarist Russia.

It was used
exclusively on serfs,

just as drawing and quartering

was reserved for the lower
classes of England.

The institution of serfdom
depended on the use

of savage corporal punishment.

Knouting was also popular
in military services

of Europe and on plantations
in the American South.

You are a student still?


Married with a baby?

Yes, yes.

Your sister?

She's getting better.

Still... Yeah, yeah.

I don't want to take
up a lot of your time, Mrs. Ascher.

My time?

What do you think
I do with my time?

See, I wanted to know if
there were any papers.

Maybe letters
you know about, files.

Papers, letters?

Yeah. See, uh...

Well, I guess I think
they belong to me.

There are none.

Robert Lewin has all the files.

I gave him everything.

When Jacob died,

when I sold the practice
and closed the office,

I had to first clean up
the garbage of 35 years.

He threw away nothing.

For months,
I went through papers.

It was very difficult
for me. I made myself ill.

Robert Lewin didn't
want the practice.

Can I get you something?

A glass of milk?


You know, there was a point

Jacob and I seriously discussed
adopting you ourselves.

I didn't know that.

It is true.

How we would have managed it
at our age I can't tell you.

It was his idea,
of course, not mine.

I held my breath and
he talked himself out of it.

Only after he died did I think

maybe he knew he hadn't long.

And that's why he
decided to quit.

Otherwise, who knows...

Well, he was very kind to us.

Your parents should
have been so kind.

I don't know what to tell you.

I have no love
for the memory of your parents.

They were communists
and they destroyed everything they touched.

You don't think
they were innocent?

They were not innocent
in permitting themselves

to be used and in using other
people in their fanaticism.


The case ruined Jacob's health.

They were very difficult
to deal with.

They were very stubborn.

He would come home furious.

He wanted to do something
and they wouldn't let him.

He wanted to do something
for their sake

and they wouldn't allow it.

Like what?

He wanted to call certain
people as witnesses.

And they wouldn't let him.

All sorts of things like that.

Who... who... who did
he want to call as a witness?

Who knows?!

Jacob was a very
brilliant lawyer.

And today, whenever
they talk about the case,

it is Jacob they criticize.

He should have done that,
he shouldn't have done that.

Do they know what
he had to put up with?

I do not know

why oft' round me

my hopes all shattered

seem to be

God's perfect plan

I cannot see

but someday

I'll understand


he'll make it plain to me


Susan, please!

When I his face shall see

some day from tears
I shall be free

for someday

I shall understand

I cannot tell

Oh, Susan, Susan.

The depth of love

we choose the father's
breast above

my faith to test

my love to prove

but someday I'll understand

someday he'll
make it plain to me

someday when I
his face shall see

someday from tears
I shall be free

someday I shall

no longer stay

Are you sure you're up to this?


Listen, do you know of anything

my parents might have done

to hurt the case Ascher
was putting together?

What do you mean?

Like testimony?

Uh, evidence they
wouldn't let him use.

Who have you been
talking to now?

Fanny Ascher?

Yeah. Of course.

You got to understand Fanny.

Jake was in poor health.

And she blames
his death on the case.

That means she blames
the Isaacsons.

Of course she's going
to resent any criticism

of the way he handled
the defence.

She wants you to take
over the practice.

My father and Jake
Ascher were law partners in the forties.

I was the heir apparent.

Fanny never forgave
me for wanting to teach law.

I don't remember Jake

ever saying anything
along those lines.

Of course I didn't
really get involved until the appeals.

Who knows?

Her parents were party members.

Perhaps they felt
they had to handle their defence

with an eye out for the party.

Maybe there is something to it.

Maybe they did hold
back. I don't know.

If they did, the party didn't
show any gratitude, did it?

They were no help until
after the sentence.

The propaganda value
of the case was too good to be ignored.

In those days it was fashionable

to downgrade
Russian technology...

before Sputnik.

The joke
was how they copied everything

and claimed it for their own.

So when they got the bomb,

it was our bomb.

That meant we were betrayed.

It's good, Lise.

Yeah, it's great.

If I'd had more notice,

I could have made
something special.

But we never hear from you.

We never know
when to expect you.

After the war,

we built our entire
foreign policy on a bomb,

on our having the bomb,

and the Soviets not having it.

Terrible mistake. It
militarized the world.

And when they got it,

the only alternative
to admitting our bankrupt policy

was to find conspiracies.

It was one or the other.

You stopped at Susan's?

I washed her hair this morning.

I bought her a lovely robe,
but it's too big.

I'll have to get
the smaller size.

You know, I...

Used to think
about the odds against it.


That it would happen to us,

you know?

That particular family...

Out of millions.

Well, if you're the FBI

and you know you
have to bring in something,

what do you do?

You go to your files.

You have a file
of known left-wing activists.

And if you find
somebody in there

who gives off
a sense of his own vulnerability,

you go to work on that.

Selig Mindish?

They questioned him for weeks

before they arrested him.

And they questioned
him for weeks

after they arrested him.

And Selig Mindish
became their case.

Robert, I wish we wouldn't
talk about this.

He became their case

because he named your parents.

And if they had
named other people,

they could have
become prosecution witnesses like Mindish.

But they didn't so they
became the defendant.

What is this family's
continuing desire for punishment?

Lise, the boy
is asking questions.

Yes, and I know what
this is going to lead to.

You're going to tell him how you
would have conducted the defence

with the Isaacsons
a dozen years now in their graves.

How comforting!



Did I say I needed comfort?


Did I ask for comfort?


You'll forgive me.

If you remember,

we never thought
it was a good idea

to discuss the case with Susan.

Today, Jake wouldn't have

the same problems
to contend with.

If they were on trial today,

the prosecution
couldn't pull this stuff in court.

If you admit this line
of questioning,

their political beliefs,

their political affiliations,

that is what
the trial will rest on.

Your honour, we simply
want to establish

motivation for what
they stand accused of.

The defence
counsellor's concerned

that if his clients
are forced to answer questions

concerning their
political affiliations,

presumably the unpopularity
of these affiliations

would prejudice
the minds of the jury.

That's part of it, your
honour. I see nowhere...

If I may set precedent...

you can build a charge
that they belong to a political party.

If their politics
is to be answered for,

then why is it not written
in the indictment?

In U.S. versus Schmidt, 1942,

the political
affiliation of the defendant

was admitted as
establishing motive.

People commit crimes
for reasons.

And sometimes
those reasons are political reasons.

That seems reasonable,
Mr. Ascher.

Pardon me. I don't see
the humour in this situation.

Schmidt was a Nazi.

He was indicted as a traitor.

Treason is defined
in the constitution

as levying war
against the United States

or adhering to its enemies

in time of war and giving
them aid and comfort.

I'm grateful to Mr. Ascher

for keeping us up on things.

If you want to put my clients
on trial for treason,

that's fine for me.

Then the uncorroborated
testimony of one witness

will not be admitted
as evidence,

as it is under the present
conspiracy charge.

Then you will have to prove
that they did something,

as you do not now.

Mr. Ascher, you're not
really saying

that a Nazi's politics
should be in the record,

but a communist's should not?

These are momentous times.

We're not technically
at war with the reds,

but we are at war.

Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Ascher?

I'm going to go ahead and
rule for the prosecution

on the grounds that
the politics of your clients

are crucial
to the argument of this trial.

Over my strenuous
objections, your honour.


You continue to try
my clients under one law

as if they had broken another.

Poor old Jake.

What he was up against.

The whole temper
of the times was medieval.

Selig Mindish needed
no one else to commit his crime.

The dentist

working in the darkness
of his dental laboratory

to steal the formula
for atomic fission,

there is your spy!

"Selig Mindish, ladies
and gentlemen of the jury,

"he is your spy!

He and he alone is responsible."

God knows.
The pressure was enormous.

I couldn't have come up
with anything better myself.

Perhaps no one could.

I don't understand.

The strategy was
to turn everything back on Mindish,

to show him guiltier
than he himself confessed to being,

to... to show his self-interest

in testifying
against the Isaacsons

to save himself.

He is your spy.

He and he alone.


Don't you see the terrible flaw?

It admits there was a crime.

Your parents and Ascher
gave the prosecution

the one premise
it shouldn't have...

that any crime
was committed at all.

But Mindish confessed.

Why would Mindish confess
if no crime was committed?

Why indeed?

I don't know how well
you remember Selig Mindish.

An ignorant man,

never properly naturalized,

a dubious degree from some
third-rate dental college.

A very ordinary man

perfectly capable of
joining the communist party

for no more than
an exalted sense of himself.

So you ask, what
is the motivation

for a man to do what he did?

Well, one motivation
is to believe,

or to have been
persuaded to believe,

in his own guilt

and to live in mortal fear
of the consequences.

Another is to believe,

or to have been
persuaded to believe,

in the guilt of his friends

and to live in mortal fear
of the consequences.

But there's a third possibility.

Don't you remember
what their lives were like?

They believed.

They had the faith,

and they were prepared

to suffer the passion
of their faith.

We are the people's soldiers

we're marching
with our strengths

to beyond

far and wide
as the eye can wander

heathen folk are everywhere

not a bird sings out to cheer us

folks are standing
gaunt and bare

That's Paul Robeson.

We are the people's soldiers

we're marching with...

This isn't the way we came.

Commie cocksuckers!

Jew bastards!

Are you crazy?!



You dirty rats! Officer!


Get down!

What are you doing?!

This must not be permitted!

Open the door! Open the door!



Stop them before
they break him in half!

Commie rats!

You dirty rats!

You commie bastards!

Burning at the stake.

Known to all European nations

through the 19th century.

Used into the 20th century.

Always, in whatever country,

used on the lower classes.

Like the knout,
like drawing and quartering

no accident Joan
of arc was a peasant.

Is this the right day?

Yes, Daniel.

Do they know I'm coming?

I told you, yes.

They're dead.


My little girl...

That is not true.

They are alive.

Not anymore. They were killed.

It was in the newspaper.

How do you know? You can't read.

I can. I've learned how to read.

You sure they want to see us?

More than anything.

Mr. Ascher, any word
on the appeals?

Son, how long has it been
since you've seen your parents?

One more thing, Mr. Ascher.

Everyone knows they're dead.

Who's everyone?

My class.

You're a dope.

What's this?

He has to frisk me.

That's ok, kid.

No, go ahead and search me.

I might have a gun.

That's ok. I'm satisfied
you don't have a gun.

They haven't
seen their parents in over a year.

Yeah? Well, they're here.

Search me.

Now her.

Look at you. Look at you.

You're so big
I don't even recognize you.

We sent you pictures.

It's not the same.

Well, aren't you going
to give me a hug?

You're so big.

You're so beautiful.

You're my beautiful children.

When are they going to kill you?

My darling, they're
not going to do that.

That's just
their way of talking.

I'm sure Uncle Jake
told you about appeals,

about the lawyers who
have to examine the trials.

That takes time.

We're in no danger right now.

But what if they kill you
anyway, how will they do it?

Well, darling, they do
something called electrocution,

and it's very painless.

We don't want
to talk about that.

Aren't you warm?
Take off your coat.

Let me have a look at you.

You're very nicely dressed.

How lovely you look.

Here. I have a little surprise.

And how's school?


I'm going to be a lawyer.

Then I can get you free.

This I haven't heard before.

He's going to make
a good lawyer, won't he, Jake?

I won't let them kill you.

I'll kill them first.

Oh, now, where did you
get that expression?

Where's my daddy?

First I get to visit with you,

and then he gets his turn.

Why not together?

Look how long your hair
has gotten. It's so pretty.

Do you see my daddy?

Yes. We get to talk once
a week through a screen.

We went home,

but it was gone.

It's hard to make up for all
the lost time, isn't it?

It's a strange feeling,
isn't it?

We're living with a family.

I know.

It's closer to here
than the shelter.

I know...

The judge made us.

Look, Danny,
you don't understand.

I chose the Lewins
from all the people.

I wanted that for you.

It's going to be some time
before this is over,

and it's too long
to stay in the shelter.


You'll come back
soon, won't you?

I love you, my sweetest angels.

I love your pictures,
I love your letters.

I'm so proud of you,
you know that?

But soon this will all be over,

and we'll have peace again.

It's a terrible thing
to do to people, isn't it?

But don't you worry,

we'll get out of here.

We'll have fun again.

How are the two best
children in the world?

How are my favourite children?

Oh, look at them, Jake.

A million dollars!

A million dollars!

You know what I got here?

Do you?

I'm going to show you.

Watch carefully.

Bug collection.

How did you catch them?

Paper cup. I can't keep
them from drying out.

And they won't let me
have preservatives.

But the insect world
is truly amazing.

Come here. Look at this moth.

Isn't that beautiful?

Aw, come here.

Isn't it beautiful?

I hate... I hate them things.

These are roaches.

I can usually find
all the specimens I need,

but you got to trick them.

Sometimes it takes hours.


You know, I figured it out...

I'm not more than 20 feet

from your mother
as the crow flies.

I'm one floor below
and I'm one block over.

Of course, there's a lot
of stone between us,

and poor mommy's
all alone up there.

She's the only woman.

I, at least, have
murderers to talk to.

You still a baseball fan?

You know, they put
the giants game

over the, uh...
Over the loudspeakers.

They'll make a fan of me yet.

Also, I play chess
with the other inmates.

We put the, uh...

We make our boards and
our chessmen out of paper.

And then we shout the moves.

I always thought chess
was a waste of time.

And it is. It's
a terrible waste of time.

Time. It's valuable.

Now, you can put innocent...

you can put
innocent people to jail,

but you can't put
their minds in jail.

You understand?
What's wrong? I burn you?

Look here. It didn't fall.
The Ash is still here, you see?

Don't worry. I wouldn't
hurt my boy.

They are the ones
with the minds in jail.

But you can't put
innocent people to death

in this country
because it can't be done.

You'll see. Public opinion
will get behind us.

You'll see, my handsome boy.

Am I right, Jake? Huh?

Of course.

No, wait, no! Before
our trial even started,

we were convicted
by the paid hirelings of the kept press.

And it was not
a fair trial on that ground alone.

Paul, I don't think now...

no! You listen! You be quiet!

It's all right, it's all right.

I want my son to know

we're not alone, the Isaacsons.

Soon, the whole world
is going to be behind us

in our fight
to regain our freedom.

And he can help.

And you want to help,
don't you? Huh?


That's right!

Oh, you, you!

You know, you are
my brilliant boy.

You are my wonderful,
brilliant boy.

You know, you're getting
to look like me.

Am I?

You, ah... You're luckier.

You're the image of your mother.

You're a beauty
just like your mom.

Jake, isn't that
an ideal situation, huh?

What could a father ask for...

his son take after him,

and his daughter after his wife.

Is that not ideal?


We have an ideal family.

Now my soul is a witness

for my lord

yes, my soul is a witness

for my lord

now my soul is a witness

for my lord

yes, my soul is a witness

for my lord

now Daniel was a Hebrew child

he went to pray
to his God for a while

king at once for Daniel did send

cast him into the lion's den

the lord sent an angel

the lion's but a king

and Daniel lay down

and went to sleep

Daniel was a witness

for my lord

yes, Daniel was a witness

for my lord

oh, Daniel was a witness

for my lord

yes, Daniel was a witness

for my lord

now who will be a witness

for my lord

yes, who will be a witness

for my lord

now who will be a witness

for my lord

who will be a witness

for my lord

Hi, Linda.


Come on, Linda.

It's me. Danny Isaacson.

Weeks Avenue?

Jeez. Linda Meentan?

This is very nice.

I bet you're a very
good dentist, Linda.

You always had strong hands.

I can still feel
those pokes in the ribs.

You know, and you were good
at bending back fingers, too.

Sand in the eyes.

What do you want?


What are you doing here?

Oh, I... I happened
to be in the neighbourhood.

Danny, I, uh, I'd like
you to meet Dale.

He's a lawyer.

What can we do for you?

Pretty good.

Linda did the right thing.

You can't barge in
on people like this

and expect them to put
out the welcome mat.

She has no way of
even knowing you are who you say you are.

Oh, no, no, no, no. That's him.

That's Danny Isaacson.

Linda's a big girl,

and I can only
advise her what to do.

She and her family
have nothing to fear.

They are not obliged
to discuss that case or see you at all.

Do you need money?
What's your problem?

Dale, why don't you shut
up a fucking minute?

I want to warn you,

as a lawyer, an intimidation,

threatened or implied,
obscene language or slander,

in the State of California.

Uh, I'm hoping
your father can help settle some questions.

As far as I know, all the questions
were settled a long time ago.

Do you... do you want
me to talk in front of this guy?

This guy and I
are going to be married.


I'm interested to know

how you and your mother
supported yourselves

after your father went to jail.

It's none of his business.

You were 14 or 15,

but when you moved here,

you went to college
and dental school.

Linda, you're not obliged...

it's all right, sweetheart.

When, uh...

When my father went to prison,

my mother and I
suffered terribly.

But something good
happened, too.

You see, I discovered
resources in myself

I otherwise might not have.

And from what I understand,

neither you nor your sister
have been that fortunate.

In many ways,

it's been tougher
for me than for you.

I mean, your parents, after all, were
considered heroes in some circles.

But Selig Mindish,
he was a hero to no one.

To say the least.

We, uh...

We lost our friends,

and we lost our honour.

And the years he spent in jail
ruined his health.

I'll tell you something.

I often dreamed that
if we could change places,

the Isaacsons and the Mindishes,

I'd be glad to stand
in your shoes,

just so you could stand in mine.

Could I please
have your hankie, Dale?

Well, it's a nice
thought, Linda.

It's a nice thought.

A nice thought! You know,
I owe you nothing!

Your parents were
full of high ideas,

except when it came
to other people!

Except when it came to ruining
the lives of friends!

What does that mean?
What does that mean?

They led my father down
the garden path.

He chauffeured them
where they wanted to go,

he fixed teeth for them,

he... he turned
into a spy for them.

Linda, honey, calm yourself.

Well, Linda, the awful
Isaacsons are dead. They're dead!

Now all you have to
worry about is me.

But what can
I do? Tell people your real name?

No, this is...
this is Southern California.

This is orange county. I mean,

after all, Selig helped
bust a commie spy ring.

His testimony is
a matter of record.

Yeah, it is, it is,

but things that
seemed clear then aren't clear now.

For instance,
you ever ask him why he testified?

Why... why he confessed?

That's a naive question.

Why? Why? Why?
'Cause he was... 'cause he was caught?

He had no choice? Or
because he was sorry for what he had done

or... or because he wanted
to save himself?

That's what Jake Ascher thought.

That Selig fingered my
parents to save himself.

As for my parents,
I don't know what they thought.

Robert Lewin thinks it
was an act of sacrifice.

What are you talking about?

Nobody knows what happened!

Nobody knows what
really happened!

Even the government!

They were never satisfied.

They had the...
the criminal masterminds

they've gotten
the death sentence for.

I mean, right up to the end,
they were ready to deal.

They only arrested my mother
to get my father to talk,

to try to break my father.

You know, they had this...
this little phone...

In the death chamber...

In case he wanted to confess.

Confess to what? Didn't
they already have him?

I mean, they... they sat
him down in the chair,

in the electric chair,


Where he could see
the fucking phone...

And they were ready
to commute the sentence

if he told them
who really ran the atomic spy ring.

You know, there
was this other couple

that lived, uh, in the Bronx.

They belonged to
the Bronx membership.

And everyone believed they'd gone
underground to do dangerous work.

Even I heard that.
Did your... did your dad ever mention them?

Did he ever mention them?

Their name or
anything like that?

No, Danny.

No one did. No one ever
mentioned their name...

Without lowering their voices.

The daredevil heroes
of the Bronx.

I mean, after all, the
party was falling apart.

People needed to feel
good about something.

And, you know,
this other couple...

They were supposed to have
lived a few blocks from us.

And they were
supposed to have had two children.

You poor tormented boy.

Yeah, well, it's hard
to get it down. I know.

I'm not sure I understand.

Of course you
have no proof of this.

Of course, and that's
why I want to see Selig.

You stop calling
my father Selig.

I've got his fillings
in my teeth!

Let me... let me see
if I understand.

Oh, Dale, it's insane.

You're saying that Dr. Mindish
lied about your parents

in deference to another couple
who looked like them?

No, I don't know
if they looked like them.

No, I mean... I mean,
to protect another couple,

that everyone thought when
undercover to do dangerous work.

Uh... To keep the FBI away
from people of real value.

They were closing in
to get the heat off.

And that this mythical couple,

these other people.

Are the ones
who actually stole the secrets?

Well, not necessarily.

You know,
it's never been proven.

It's never been proven
that any secrets were stolen.

It's not what happened
or was going to happen.

It is what Selig and/or some of
the others thought had happened!

I mean, it... it was
as much fantasy

as what the, uh,
FBI thought had happened!

And your parents
lent themselves to this deception?


My father...

Yeah, I think he would
have figured it out...

And gambled.

I don't think my mother would
have known anything about it.

You know...

I feel sorry for you.

I knew that's
why he came here...

To find, uh, you know, some
way of squirming out of it.


It's pathetic.

Ha ha. Oh, God.

The more I think about it.

You know, my papa didn't
tell the half of it.

They were into all sorts
of things that never came up at the trial.

Missiles, germ warfare,
gas, everything.

Your parents
ran the show, Danny.

They planned things,
they paid people off.

Lasers! You know,
they were into lasers

years before anybody had
even heard of lasers.

So don't tell me my papa
sacrificed them or anybody.

Another couple?

My God. It's pitiful.

Linda, I didn't come
3,000 Miles to hear the family line.

Look, I've wasted enough time.

Please. I-I-I'm sorry.
We can't do anything for you.

Oh, Linda.

You're not the little
hipster I used to know.

Dale here with his Dacron suit,

his little tie,
his nice little haircut.

I mean, if they were
his parents,

he'd want it to be
another couple.

But look at me.

Do I look like Dale?

Whatever it is, Linda,

I can live with it.

Shit, this could
be another planet.

I think there's
something wrong with you.

Don't you want
your life on earth?

Don't you want to come
back to the world?

Whatever it is, Linda,
I want to live with it.

Let Selig tell me
what you just told me.

Let him tell me,
let me know the guys he put the finger on,

the guys who did it
or didn't do it...

I want to hear it from him.

I want to know.

That's all.

Hello, papa.


Do you remember Danny Isaacson?


You see?

You can ask him
anything you want, Danny.

Hello, Dr. Mindish.

It's Danny.

It's Danny.

Danny Isaacson.

Paul and Rochelle's son.



It's Danny.

It's all right, papa.

It's all right.

Do you remember Susan,

your little girl Susan?

I wanted to give her something.

Is there such a thing
as too much hope?

Electricity is a form of energy.

It is generated by power
sources driven by water,

steam, or atomic fission.

The two leading electric
power producing countries

in the world are
the United States of America

and the union of the Soviet
Socialist Republics.

The theory of electricity
is that atoms

gain or lose electrons.

Thus become positively
or negatively charged.

In this way,
a current is produced

and a current is designed
to flow through a circuit.

Aw, Paulie.

Aw, my pop.

Oh, Rochelle.

I will not have him here.

Let my son
be bar mitzvahed today.

Let our deaths
be his bar mitzvah.

You'll have to do it again.

There's a man going 'round

taking names

there's a man going 'round

taking names

he has taken my mother's name

and has left my heart in pain

there's a man going 'round

taking names

there's a man going 'round

taking names, taking names

there's a man going 'round

taking names, taking names

he has taken my father's name

and has left my heart in pain

there's a man going 'round

taking names

now death is the man
taking names

yes, death is the man
taking names

he has taken my brother's name

and has left my heart in pain

there's a man going 'round

taking names

We're ready for the service.

You wanted your own rabbi.

The name?

Uh, Susan. Susan Isaacson.

That's Susan Isaacson.

Yes, sir.

That's Susan...


Isaacson. Susan Isaacson.

And then when you're
through with that,

in the name of Paul...


And then
in the name of Rochelle.

And Rochelle.

In the name of all of them.

This little light of mine

I'm going to let it shine

this little light of mine

I'm going to let it shine

this little light of mine

I'm going to let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

everywhere I go

I'm going to let it shine

everywhere I go

I'm going to let it shine

everywhere I go

I'm going to let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

All through the night

I'm going to let it shine

all through the night

I'm going to let it shine

all through the night

I'm going to let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

let it shine