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This attack on personal freedom was led by the Congress of the United States. It was strongly supported by an alarmingly diverse band of helpers ranging from our government's executive branch to the AFL-CIO to church groups, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and employers in America's media, information, and educational industries.
Dozens of citizens were jailed, hundreds moved to other countries, and thousands lost their jobs. Several of the accused died from the stress and strain of having their personal beliefs and opinions ominously questioned by their own government and the labor unions to which they belonged.
Those who were not personally or professionally persecuted became self-censoring and timid in order to keep their paychecks and avoid being publicly condemned and denounced. As a result, a pall of mediocrity settled over cultural and artistic production in America.
The blacklist was not a new witches' brew concocted by the Association of Motion Picture Producers AMPP to protect the movie industry from a new threat, "Communist infiltration.
Our own government and assorted "defenders of American ideals" have periodically shelved our First Amendment rights whenever it has conveniently suited their cause to do so. Do you remember reading about the Alien and Sedition Acts ofthe government seizure of abolitionist literature in the s or the ruthless actions taken against railroad strikers in the s in your high school history classes?
The motion picture blacklist era was simply the calculated product of movie studio executives acting from primal economic fear. They believed the film industry would lose vast portions of its audience if they didn't cooperate with Congressional investigating committees.
Just like today, the primary concern of studio executives during the blacklist was not politics or art, but the bottom line. As a result, several hundred performers whose only "crime" was belonging to or supporting organizations or causes deemed "subversive," were sacrificed by the film industry to a manufactured and manipulated national hysteria over the threat of Communist world domination.
Unbelievably, the Guilds knowingly cooperated with the blacklist process, helping to strengthen and perpetuate it. It was no coincidence that the vast majority of those blacklisted in Hollywood had been in the forefront of the struggle to organize and gain union recognition for actors, writers and directors.
When the Guilds were being organized, not all creative professionals in the film industry considered themselves "laborers" like steel or auto workers employed for "wages" paid by profiteering bosses like U.
They considered themselves "artists" joined in artistic collaboration with producers. A large number of the actors, directors and writers accepted the need for a guild or union, but they wanted something like a gentleman's club capable of providing profitable, chummy arrangements with film producers.
They furnished most of the "friendly witnesses" to the Congressional hearings they helped orchestrate. Like the purposeful blacklisting of entertainment union organizers, it was clearly no accident that the passage of the union-debilitating Taft-Hartley Act in coincided with the start of HUAC's motion picture investigation in the fall of that year.
The third historical element contributing to blacklist hysteria was the dissolution of the alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union shortly after World War II. The quick turnaround from trusted friend to deeply feared enemy created strong anti-Soviet, anti-Communist fear in most Americans.
Our government used that fear to build a national security mentality and the far-reaching defense and intelligence systems necessary to combat the worldwide spread of Soviet Communism and the potential "Communist subversion" of the United States.
For anyone with domestic scores to settle, questioning someone's loyalty to America or linking them to Communist activities served as an effective device to weaken and isolate one's political enemies.
For their own political gain, exposure and blacklisting of "subversive" citizens was taken up first by Republicans, then by Democrats.
Finally, it must also be said that among the supporters of the blacklist in America and Hollywood were those who genuinely believed that Soviet Communism was actually threatening the United States.
They thought American Communists were the pawns of a Moscow-directed conspiracy aimed at conquering the U. After all, Soviet Communists had just acquired the atomic bomb and would soon invade Czechoslovakia.
On one hand, their first loyalty as unions should have been to those members faced with loss of employment as the result of being blacklisted.Dalton Trumbo was an award-winning author and screenwriter who was blacklisted from the film industry from until the early s due to his Communist ties.
Director, Screenwriter, Journalist. Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King [Foster Hirsch] on ashio-midori.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The first full-scale life of the controversial, greatly admired yet often underrated director/producer who was known as “Otto the Terrible.” Nothing about Otto Preminger was small.
In the new film Trumbo, Bryan Cranston plays the title character, Dalton Trumbo, one of the “Hollywood ten” blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with Congress’ anti-Communist witch hunt.
Writer Dalton Trumbo, for instance, one of the Hollywood Ten and still very much on Other members of the Hollywood Ten, such as Dalton Trumbo and Edward documentary The Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist and interview by NewsHour correspondent Elizabeth Farnsworth with two blacklisted artists, writer/producer Paul .
Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter, arguably the most talented, most famous of the blacklisted film professionals known to history as the Hollywood 10, was born in Montrose, Colorado to Orus Trumbo and his wife, the former Maud Tillery. In , Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood's top screenwriter, until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.