Like so many other parts of the Matt Cvetic story, the film version of I Was a Communist for the F.B.I. inspires wildly differing opinions as it is seen from the perspective of a half century after its time.
Some reviewers revere the film as a classic example of tense film noir. To others it is "an intellectually bankrupt story… filled with misleading political innuendoes…" [REF]
Several sources claim the film was one of a number of Anti-Soviet propaganda films produced as a response to the investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and the nine days of hearings in 1947 into the alleged communist influence in the Hollywood motion picture industry.
The film stars Frank Lovejoy as Matt Cvetic, and Dorothy Hart as love-interest/femme-fatale Eve Merrick. Hart got her start as a contract actress for Columbia, and is known mostly for her supporting roles. Her first big break in the movies was the 1947 Randolph Scott western Gunfighters. Lovejoy had a successful career in radio crime drama during the 1930's, and he appeared in several war pictures during the 1940s-50s.
The version of the Cvetic story directed by Gordon Douglas portrayed in the film takes place near the end of his nine year association with the Party. It centers on the scorn Cvetic, played by Lovejoy, receives from his family and community for his Communist ties. He is called to his son's school where the boy has been tormented by his class mates because of Cvetic's activities. Here he meets the boy's teacher, Hart's character Eve Merrick, who reveals herself to Cvetic as a party member. The F.B.I. tips off Cvetic that Merrick has been assigned to spy on him. However Merrick becomes disillusioned with the Party's strong hand tactics. Cvetic rescues her from the Party Goons before he testifies before the HUAC.
"Although I Was A Communist for the F.B.I. is in many ways a problematic film, everything that makes it problematic today contributed to its success with audiences in 1951 — and therefore the film remains a provocative document of a troubled time." [REF]