Picks and Pans Review: Reds

updated 09/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HBO (8-11:30 p.m. ET) and SHOWTIME (Sept. 3, 8-11:30 p.m. ET)

As the producer, director, co-writer and star of this $33.5 million film, Warren Beatty set himself the unenviable task of personalizing the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution for a mass American audience. Though critics responded more enthusiastically than the public—the film runs an intimidating three hours and 16 minutes—the pay-TV premiere of the 1981 release offers a new and welcome opportunity to measure Beatty's work. Home viewers can take a trip to the fridge during the more heavy-handed or typically Hollywood scenes. Beatty plays American journalist John Reed, who witnessed the revolution and described it in Ten Days That Shook the World. Diane Keaton brilliantly portrays Louise Bryant, the dentist's wife whom Reed loves. Although Beatty and Keaton make the love story compelling, the film falters in the second half, when it becomes burdened with ideology. Still, Beatty shouldn't be chided too harshly. Though it sometimes trips on its pretensions, Reds is a brave movie and a television event.


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