The motion picture tells the story of John Read (played by the charismatic Warren Beatty), a famous American journalist, and his wife Louise Bryant (the fun-loving and splendid Diane Keaton) who leaves her traditional husband to live with the revolutionary and unconventional John Read. Passionate about the revolution, both travelled to Russia during the October Revolution of 1917, when the Bolsheviks has just seized the state power of Russia.
Inspired by the events, John Read wrote the bestseller of the time, Ten days that shook the World, describing the Revolution. A few years later, disillusioned with the Revolution, he tried to leave the country but died of kidney failure before he had the chance to flee. He is the only American to be buried at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.
The film is over three hours long. Since Beatty was unable to obtain permission to shoot in Moscow and St Petersburg he was forced to shoot the film in nearby Finland. But it is such an emotional, daring picture and the actors perform their roles so well that I did not see the time pass.
The film also features the unusual and touching testimonies of witness who personally knew John Read and Louise Bryant, including among others the American Writer Henry Miller, author a well-known work Tropic of Capricorn. The witnesses of Read’s and Bryant’s lives, many in their 80s, tell amusing and compelling stories about the events of the time, sing popular songs and express their opinions of both heroes in a rather impromptu way, which adds much is to the charm of the film.