Daniel (1983) Script

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.

Right. The Paul and Rochelle Isaacson foundation for revolutionary studies.

Did you know anything about this?

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


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 everywhere.

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 could 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 carfare, $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 Louder!

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 nonaggression 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 honor!

A great honor! 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 willful 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 favorite 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... lying.

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 labor?

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, marvelous 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.

Mmm, 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 favored 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, disemboweled.

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? Ahh!

How's my little girl?

If they didn't arrest people, they'd have nothing to do.

Do me a favor, 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.

They're 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 ass 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 everything 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, Daniel.

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 establish 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 neighbor 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 favors the defense.

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 defense 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 defense 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 neighborhood 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 fuckin' 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 ass.

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 offenses 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 someday he'll make it plain to me someday 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 defense.

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 defense 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 defense 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 honor, we simply want to establish motivation for what they stand accused of.

The defense counselor'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 honor. 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 humor 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 honor.


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 favorite 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 neighborhood.

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 fuckin' 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 honor.

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, right?

Where he could see the fuckin' 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