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MovieMadness

Please dump the blacklisting reminders

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Let's not compare apples to oranges (sorry for the cliche but, it fit !)

Hollywood has blacklisted ( or blackballed) performers since the beginning with Fatty Arbuckle. This is nothing new. What this is about is "The Hollywood Blacklist of the 1950's" a specific event. This was not only taking jobs but, exiling, deporting even giving jail time to  people in contempt of court.

Any "blacklisting" today has nothing to do with that at all. There will be no senate investigation if TCM plays Charlie Chan films. Its just bad for business today. TCM won't be playing certain period cartoons either for the same reason.

Any actors not getting roles, well that's why the many streaming channels coming online is a benefit. They provide more avenues for performers to work. How many actors lost roles because of age ? Religion ? This also is nothing new.

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Another problem with glorifying the blacklistees as heroes is that it overlooks those whose careers were uninterrupted because they never did anything to raise suspicion. Was Bette Davis ever blacklisted? No. Was Kent Smith ever blacklisted? No. Was Esther Williams ever blacklisted? No. That's because these people behaved themselves and didn't engage in activities that they'd have to later explain or deny.

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35 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Another problem with glorifying the blacklistees as heroes is that it overlooks those whose careers were uninterrupted because they never did anything to raise suspicion. Was Bette Davis ever blacklisted? No. Was Kent Smith ever blacklisted? No. Was Esther Williams ever blacklisted? No. That's because these people behaved themselves and didn't engage in activities that they'd have to later explain or deny.

So you think those with different opinions on economics and philosophy deserved to be blacklisted? :huh: 

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17 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

 I love Charlie Chan films very much.  But on the other hand I can see how they may be offensive to some people.

Since I'm not Chinese American or Chinese anything, I don't think it's my call as to say what would be offensive to a certain group of people. But I think we've been through all this before a while back.

Yeah, when talking about anything whether it's Birth of a Nation or Gone with the Wind-- it's always best to keep primary sources alive and well and shown when possible with the caveats that you have a discussion and you're open to all viewpoints on the issue.

TCM is not a university or any kind of academic organization, so they're here to make money. I imagine a lot of their policies have to do with not offending a lot of people and being profitable.

One line in there bothers me the most....

"...I can see how they may be offensive to some people."

In the media's rush to avoid any legal hassles, or to garner favor on the "PC" front, they've allowed "some" people( to me, meaning a few loud "squeaky wheels") to dictate their direction and content.(and by "media" I mean ALL media, not just TCM)  I know MANY Asians who were never offended by Charlie Chan, or the fact that Chinese actors were never used to portray him.  They understand the WHY of what was behind it and treat it all as a joke.  My wife STILL laughs whenever I kid her about ELI WALLACH being her favorite "Mexican" actor.  ;) 

But, it's the LAST line in all of the quote that bears the most truth.  ;)

Sepiatone

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I really haven't noticed the HUAC blacklisting being driven into the ground on TCM, but I think it is appropriate to raise the subject every now and then. What is so hypocritical about the whole era of HUAC is that those doing the blacklisting failed to remember two big matters of very recent American history. First there was the Great Depression, when unemployment reached 25% at a time when the USA had absolutely no safety net at all. Men left their families rather than sit around and watch them starve. Until 1933 when the banks failed en masse even Franklin Roosevelt thought that federal deposit insurance was too extreme a measure to take. So of course, with pure capitolism failing completely, some people investigated other economic systems - e.g. communism.

Then there was WWII when the allies made a deal with the devil (Stalin) to defeat the Nazis. All of the movies and some of the books of the WWII era praised Russia and Stalin. I've seen some of the books that white-washed Stalin at my grandmother's house when she was alive  and they were a laugh fest. Ever see "The North Star"? The Russians are portrayed as happy peasants singing and working until those nasty Nazis came along. Then there is "Tender Comrade" (1943) which is about some American girls living communally, which many people did because of housing shortages and just for friendship while their men were gone. Leonard Maltin says of it "Some unbearable--and ironically, pro- American--speechifying, but occasionally fascinating as social history." In spite of that pro American viewpoint, it helped torpedo the careers of director Edward Dmytryk and writer Dalton Trumbo.

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42 minutes ago, calvinnme said:

I really haven't noticed the HUAC blacklisting being driven into the ground on TCM, but I think it is appropriate to raise the subject every now and then. What is so hypocritical about the whole era of HUAC is that those doing the blacklisting failed to remember two big matters of very recent American history. First there was the Great Depression, when unemployment reached 25% at a time when the USA had absolutely no safety net at all. Men left their families rather than sit around and watch them starve. Until 1933 when the banks failed en masse even Franklin Roosevelt thought that federal deposit insurance was too extreme a measure to take. So of course, with pure capitolism failing completely, some people investigated other economic systems - e.g. communism.

Then there was WWII when the allies made a deal with the devil (Stalin) to defeat the Nazis. All of the movies and some of the books of the WWII era praised Russia and Stalin. I've seen some of the books that white-washed Stalin at my grandmother's house when she was alive  and they were a laugh fest. Ever see "The North Star"? The Russians are portrayed as happy peasants singing and working until those nasty Nazis came along. Then there is "Tender Comrade" (1943) which is about some American girls living communally, which many people did because of housing shortages and just for friendship while their men were gone. Leonard Maltin says of it "Some unbearable--and ironically, pro- American--speechifying, but occasionally fascinating as social history." In spite of that pro American viewpoint, it helped torpedo the careers of director Edward Dmytryk and writer Dalton Trumbo.

I can see why the OP started this thread. It's because TCM is not subtle sometimes with the political movements or issues it supports through programming, its selection of guest hosts and the content of some wraparounds. But for every person who grows weary of TCM's didacticism, there are others who lap it up and say baby bring it on and give me some more.

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34 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

baby bring it on and give me some more.

This is my mantra and probably that of other TCM posters when it comes to the network being able to show those rare Universal, Paramount, or Republic studio releases!

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1 minute ago, midwestan said:

This is my mantra and probably that of other TCM posters when it comes to the network being able to show those rare Universal, Paramount, or Republic studio releases!

Speaking of Republic I watched DAKOTA last night on Starz. Gosh I just love those Republic "A" westerns. Republic is my favorite studio. 

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3 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

One line in there bothers me the most....

"...I can see how they may be offensive to some people."

In the media's rush to avoid any legal hassles, or to garner favor on the "PC" front, they've allowed "some" people( to me, meaning a few loud "squeaky wheels") to dictate their direction and content.(and by "media" I mean ALL media, not just TCM)  I know MANY Asians who were never offended by Charlie Chan, or the fact that Chinese actors were never used to portray him.  They understand the WHY of what was behind it and treat it all as a joke.  My wife STILL laughs whenever I kid her about ELI WALLACH being her favorite "Mexican" actor.  ;) 

But, it's the LAST line in all of the quote that bears the most truth.  ;)

Sepiatone

It typically is because of business reasons and not legal hassles that companies self-censor their own content.  

How much influence 'some people' should have is up to the business.  As you note some companies do 'allow' a small minority of folks to dictate the direction and content,  but again, this is their choice (the choice of the business).      Those that don't favor any type of self-censorship (like myself) need to be a counter voice of influence. 

But note by doing so companies might be put in a no-win situation like the NFL has been (no-win in that there are enough voices on each side willing to boycott to hurt a company's bottom line).

 

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I never realized that TCM was a hotbed of left wing agitprop. 

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20 hours ago, TopBilled said:

He's probably afraid to, because he knows others will rip his list to shreds and upend any other point of view he espouses. He knows that when someone says please give me a list, it could lead into less respectful differences of opinion.

There's this habit people have of not just letting a comment slide. I think the political fights in the off-topics forum are spilling over on to threads in these other forums. TCM is creating a monster by not getting rid of those political threads and by not throwing that whole off-topics forum on to the trash heap. In my opinion it's making everyone quarrel more.

 Art is political. Picasso's Guernica is political. The Birth of a Nation is political. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is political.

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is political. John Lennon's imagine is political.

You can run but you can't hide from politics because politics is humanity making itself heard one way or another.

I, for one, do not like to watch movies like Schindler's List,  Judgment at Nuremberg, Mississippi Burning or Milk - - about the Gay politician who was murdered in San Francisco. But I'm thankful that somebody decided to have the courage to make those movies and act in those movies and go to see those movies.

That's because there are some things in our history that we should never forget. And there are some things happening right now that we should be concerned about and participate in because we live in a People's Democracy.

All of humanity is political and it's called life.

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Just now, Princess of Tap said:

 Art is political. Picasso's Guernica is political. The Birth of a Nation is political. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is political.

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is political. John Lennon's imagine is political.

You can run but you can't hide from politics because politics is humanity making itself heard one way or another.

I, for one, do not like to watch movies like Schindler's List,  Judgment at Nuremberg, Mississippi Burning or Milk - - about the Gay politician who was murdered in San Francisco. But I'm thankful that somebody decided to have the courage to make those movies and act in those movies and go to see those movies.

That's because there are some things in our history that we should never forget. And there are some things happening right now that we should be concerned about and participate in because we live in a people's Drmocracy.

All of humanity is political and it's called life.

I know you meant well. But please don't draw those of us who are non-political into a blanket statement that life is political. My life is different from all of that, by choice. I see where politics can be used like a color on a canvas to shade a certain perspective. But it is not a tool that has to be used very time the artist turns out a piece of work. Anyone who believes politics are eveyrwhere may not have had a chance to breathe away from the stranglehold that politics has had on them. Something to think about.

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14 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Another problem with glorifying the blacklistees as heroes is that it overlooks those whose careers were uninterrupted because they never did anything to raise suspicion. Was Bette Davis ever blacklisted? No. Was Kent Smith ever blacklisted? No. Was Esther Williams ever blacklisted? No. That's because these people behaved themselves and didn't engage in activities that they'd have to later explain or deny.

Gene Kelly's wife Betsy Blair was blacklisted. He was going to be blacklisted too, but he was too valuable to MGM. So the studio managed to get both off the hook. They both attended communist meetings. Now I know that's the case with Gene Kelly and maybe it's true with a lot of other people who were too valuable to be lost in that shuffle.

And I don't know what you mean  about how some people behaving some didn't behave. Everyone had to live with their own conscience and that's what many people were doing.

Carl Foreman and the story of High Noon is one good example that we should all know about. John Wayne was responsible for a lot of that problem here - - and I guess I could say he didn't behave in my opinion properly. So it's a matter of judgment as to who's behaving properly and who isn't.

And im history the people who have behaved improperly and stuck their necks out have accomplished something that we all are enjoying today. And Martin Luther King Jr would be one example of that.

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I can just use my favorite genres as an example--

Bringing Up Baby, My Man Godfrey and His Girl Friday-- the best of the bunch. The best performers the best writing the best screwballs.

You can do an ostrich act on me, but those are very political movies, whether we want to admit it or not.

You don't have to watch Frank Capra in the 30s & 40s to see this everywhere.  It's part of life and impossible to escape.

My favorite movies are Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals of the 1930s-- they wouldn't exist if not for the Depression. That makes them a result of politics and political policy. You just can't divorce it from life.

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51 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

I can just use my favorite genres as an example--

Bringing Up Baby, My Man Godfrey and His Girl Friday-- the best of the bunch. The best performers the best writing the best screwballs.

You can do an ostrich act on me, but those are very political movies, whether we want to admit it or not.

You don't have to watch Frank Capra in the 30s & 40s to see this everywhere.  It's part of life and impossible to escape.

My favorite movies are Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals of the 1930s-- they wouldn't exist if not for the Depression. That makes them a result of politics and political policy. You just can't divorce it from life.

Again I think you are making blanket statements. I don't quite buy into what you are positing.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Again I think you are making blanket statements. I don't quite buy into what you are positing.

Well you don't have to buy it, but I think you may belong to what we called in French literature the Parnassian group-- Art For Art's Sake. That I'm aware of, but I don't exactly agree with it. Because great art  always delivers a strong human/political statement-- whether it's West Side Story or Oliver Twist.

 But I wish you luck with your Artistic Endeavors--there's room for all kinds.

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5 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

Well you don't have to buy it, but I think you may belong to what we called in French literature the Parnassian group-- Art For Art's Sake. That I'm aware of, but I don't exactly agree with it. Because great art  always delivers a strong human/political statement-- whether it's West Side Story or Oliver Twist.

 But I wish you luck with your Artistic Endeavors--there's room for all kinds.

Interesting way of putting it. Glad we can be friendly while slightly disagreeing. :)

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The passage of time has allowed the media to label the Post-War efforts of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee as a "witch-hunt" wherein bigoted right-wing Congressmen sought to ruin the careers of liberals in the Motion Picture Industry.  

The truth make a lot more sense than what we have been taught to believe.

The purpose of HUAC's investigation of Hollywood was to determine if members of the American Communist Party were being directed by the Soviet Union to undermine the American way of life through their ability to influence the public through their involvement in the Motion Picture Industry.

There is an actual "litmus test" to determine which members of the ACP were under Soviet influence: Those members of the ACP who stayed in the party after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty of September 1939, making Hitler and Stalin allies.

Those members of the ACP who remained in the party after Hitler and Stalin signed an alliance, and urged the United States not to enter the war nor support Great Britain in its fight against Nazi Germany, then changed their stance after June 22, 1941 when Hitler turned on his ally and invaded Soviet Russia.

Included in this group were such liberal icons as Dalton Trumbo and Pete Seeger, who urged us not to help Britain for Wall Street in song, then tried to recall his album, "Songs For John Doe" after June 22, 1941.

While many members of the ACP were not under Soviet control and/or had left the party after the Nazi/Soviet alliance, the "naming names" issue had more to do with their refusal to identify those members of the ACP who espoused pro-Soviet views in their presence.

Read Allan Ryskind's "Hollywood Traitors" to get the real perspective on the so-called "Hollywood Blacklist".

 

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, johnpressman said:

The passage of time has allowed the media to label the Post-War efforts of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee as a "witch-hunt" wherein bigoted right-wing Congressmen sought to ruin the careers of liberals in the Motion Picture Industry.  

The truth make a lot more sense than what we have been taught to believe.

The purpose of HUAC's investigation of Hollywood was to determine if members of the American Communist Party were being directed by the Soviet Union to undermine the American way of life through their ability to influence the public through their involvement in the Motion Picture Industry.

 

 

 

 

 

So Charlie Chaplin and Gene Kelly were trying to undermine American life? :huh: You learn something new everyday.

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The idea that a small group of red writers and directors could turn the average

moviegoer into a devoted commie has always been absurd and proves that HUAC

was nothing more than a bad joke. Thank goodness it is dead and buried. Not

to be a nitpicker, but the Communist Party is usually abbreviated as CPUSA not

ACP.

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One of my favorite pics from the HUAC hearings. Dalton Trumbo and his

wife. Pretty well dressed for a communist. Even better is Bertolt Brecht

seated behind Trumbo and puffing on a cigar. If you want a good laugh

read Brecht's testimony before HUAC. He had those dumb pols so confused

they didn't whether they were coming or going.

635827651238389005-AP-FILM-TRUMBO-772901

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:D

I thought it hilarious that TopBilled, a forum member I usually respect, would choose a phrase like "behaved themselves" to describe the why of some NOT getting blacklisted.  It's like saying;

"If you think the way WE want you to, and NOT say anything WE don't WANT you to, OR even DON'T pal around with the kind of people WE want you to keep away from, then you're ACES with us!" 

HMPH!

Let FREEDOM ring?

Bah!

What I liked was in Woody Allen's THE FRONT where Zero Mostel's character HECKY BROWN has his life ruined and his reputation shredded because he once was keeping company with a woman who was a known member of the communist party.  "I just wanted to get LAID!" protested Hecky. Which was probably more true in many cases than not.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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The Hollywood Blacklist did NOT result in people being jailed for being held in contempt of court. There was no court involved. They were held in contempt of Congress. So far as I know, none of those accused or condemned ever had their "day in court."

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11 hours ago, johnpressman said:

The passage of time has allowed the media to label the Post-War efforts of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee as a "witch-hunt" wherein bigoted right-wing Congressmen sought to ruin the careers of liberals in the Motion Picture Industry.  

The truth make a lot more sense than what we have been taught to believe.

The purpose of HUAC's investigation of Hollywood was to determine if members of the American Communist Party were being directed by the Soviet Union to undermine the American way of life through their ability to influence the public through their involvement in the Motion Picture Industry.

There is an actual "litmus test" to determine which members of the ACP were under Soviet influence: Those members of the ACP who stayed in the party after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty of September 1939, making Hitler and Stalin allies.

Those members of the ACP who remained in the party after Hitler and Stalin signed an alliance, and urged the United States not to enter the war nor support Great Britain in its fight against Nazi Germany, then changed their stance after June 22, 1941 when Hitler turned on his ally and invaded Soviet Russia.

Included in this group were such liberal icons as Dalton Trumbo and Pete Seeger, who urged us not to help Britain for Wall Street in song, then tried to recall his album, "Songs For John Doe" after June 22, 1941.

While many members of the ACP were not under Soviet control and/or had left the party after the Nazi/Soviet alliance, the "naming names" issue had more to do with their refusal to identify those members of the ACP who espoused pro-Soviet views in their presence.

Read Allan Ryskind's "Hollywood Traitors" to get the real perspective on the so-called "Hollywood Blacklist".

Thanks for this post. It helps to see things from different vantage points. The liberals have a slanted view of the blacklist (and understandably so).

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

:D

I thought it hilarious that TopBilled, a forum member I usually respect, would choose a phrase like "behaved themselves" to describe the why of some NOT getting blacklisted.  It's like saying;

"If you think the way WE want you to, and NOT say anything WE don't WANT you to, OR even DON'T pal around with the kind of people WE want you to keep away from, then you're ACES with us!" 

HMPH!

Let FREEDOM ring?

Bah!

What I liked was in Woody Allen's THE FRONT where Zero Mostel's character HECKY BROWN has his life ruined and his reputation shredded because he once was keeping company with a woman who was a known member of the communist party.  "I just wanted to get LAID!" protested Hecky. Which was probably more true in many cases than not.  ;) 

Sepiatone

I am glad you usually respect me, that's cute. I loved the part where I stood up for the well-behaved stars and writers. We SHOULD be celebrating those who kept focused on entertaining audiences, instead of those who were embroiled in a war of politics that was usually self-centered and focused on their own need to be subversive.

Most of the blacklistees were not heroes at all and it's preposterous to re-posit them as such in hindsight. Many of them brought their problems with the government on themselves by joining a party that was radical and perceived as un-American, then playing games when called to testify, then running off because they were guilty, then trying to subvert the normal flow of business in Hollywood by using fronts. And finally making a big deal about getting credits restored that had been denied them in the first place because of their own actions.

My view on this is not political. My view is that we need to look at behavioral choices. Until we do that then we are deliberately using the blacklistees as weird deities in a shrine of deception. I don't expect everyone to agree with me but there should be room for my opinion on this, just as I make room for the opinions of others.

And in case someone says I am being ignorant, I can assure you I am not. Three of my professors in film school at USC were blacklisted (Edward Dmytryk, Jean Rouverol and Max Lamb). I've heard their stories first hand, and I've also learned about the suffering their choices caused them and their families. I appreciate them as directors and writers and scholars, but I also can see where some of them spent years deceiving themselves. There was a life long consequence for being too radical and not owning up to what they had done. That's the reality of all this. Jean in particular was a truly lovely woman; she spent the later years of her life putting it all into proper perspective.

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