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The McCarthy Era In Film- New Insights?


hepclassic
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And dark my friend, while I found that comment very funny, I also have to say that I found it as much of an overstatement as GoodGuysWearBlack's "statement of fact" was.

 

Wasn't meant as an overstatement. I actually thought Communism is illegal - or at least WAS illegal back in the 50's. Else why were all those peoples' lives purposely ruined for attending a meeting and thus being "un-American"?

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The Dixie Chicks were NOT blacklisted.   It appears you didn't understand the important and correct point Dargo was making.

I did, I was expanding the definition to include every artist who got public backlash for speaking out against unjust causes. If we are keeping it to strictly government-noted blacklist, we might as well include Nixon's enemy list during Vietnam. 

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Wasn't meant as an overstatement. I actually thought Communism is illegal - or at least WAS illegal - back in the 50's. Else why were all those peoples' lives purposely ruined for attending meetings and thus being "un-American"?

That is what I am trying to get to the base of, darkblue. Where their discriminatory laws against Communists in the 1950s, and what was the reason for their blacklist in the first place. 

 

From common knowledge, most people thought to be Communists in the field of film were strictly-by-association accusations. Many actors were trained under the Actor's Studio, and because Stanislavsky was Russian, people put two and two together and made six. 

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Uh-uh. I thought for sure all those people dragged before the hearings and then blacklisted from working must have done something illegal - and it seemed like being Communists was it.

Maybe. Either way, the "red hunt" had many casualities. There is only one blacklisted film to date. 

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I did, I was expanding the definition to include every artist who got public backlash for speaking out against unjust causes. If we are keeping it to strictly government-noted blacklist, we might as well include Nixon's enemy list during Vietnam. 

 

Well Dargo pointed out the false equivalence between the blacklisting of the 50s with so called unfairness to conservative actors and I felt that saying the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted was another false equivalence to the blacklisting of the 50s.

 

The result of the 50s blacklist is that an artist could work at all in the industry (unless their work was sold under a false name).    Nothing close to that  happened to the Dixie Chicks.      

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Maybe. Either way, the "red hunt" had many casualities. There is only one blacklisted film to date. 

 

Thus the secondary statement I made - "sure treated like it is".

 

So, I feel that Dargo is quite wrong to read it as an "overstatement", as you are in declaring it to be "sarcastic". It's neither - it's an honest impression of how demonized Communism is in the U.S.

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Thus the secondary statement I made - "sure treated like it is".

 

So, I feel that Dargo is quite wrong to read it as an "overstatement", as you are in declaring it to be "sarcastic". It's neither - it's an honest impression of how demonized Communism is in the U.S.

Point taken. 

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Well Dargo pointed out the false equivalence between the blacklisting of the 50s with so called unfairness to conservative actors and I felt that saying the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted was another false equivalence to the blacklisting of the 50s.

 

The result of the 50s blacklist is that an artist could work at all in the industry (unless their work was sold under a false name).    Nothing close to that  happened to the Dixie Chicks.      

Well, think about this- country music stations and industry heavies and events did not allow them to appear nor play their music on account of their opinions. They didn't produce a CD until 3 full years after they said what they said in London. They didn't tour or anything. 

 

They couldn't work. They had the choice whether to give in and quit or not. They absorbed and they moved on. Maybe we just disagree on this particular example, but if blacklisting inhibited someone or some people the right to work, the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted. 

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Thus the secondary statement I made - "sure treated like it is".

 

So, I feel that Dargo is quite wrong to read it as an "overstatement", as you are in declaring it to be "sarcastic". It's neither - it's an honest impression of how demonized Communism is in the U.S.

 

Oh, I quite agree with your use of the word "demonized" here, dark. And in fact it appears I must somewhat refute my earlier statement to you about finding what you said an "overstatement" after a doing an internet research, as I found this Wikipedia page regarding "The  Communist Control Act of 1954"...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Control_Act_of_1954

 

Now, the reason I said I must "somewhat" refute" my earlier statement is that after reading this Wiki page, it appears this Act has never been enforced by any Executive Branch administration.

 

(...but overall and the bottom line here appears to be that you were correct and my use of the word "overstatement" was misapplied...my apologies, sir) 

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Hey, thanks for that recording! :)

 

I knew nothing about them until I moved out to the Southwest and I began to find them growing in my yard. I didn't know what they were, just some kind of green weeds when they are growing. And they can grow without any rainfall.

 

Then in the fall of the year, around Sept/Oct, they dried up, turned brown or light tan, and broke off at the stem.  The curling up at the tips made them round, and when the wind blew they tumbled. They tend to collect at houses, cars, and fences.

 

That British report I mentioned was some British documentary script writer writing some kind of myth he had grown up hearing about them. I couldn't believe that PBS aired the program, more than once, and didn't correct it. But I guess they don't have tumbleweeds in New York or Washington DC or Boston or London.

 

However, tumbleweeds are attractive when a few of them, or a lone one is blowing across the desert landscape, just like in a lot of Western movies. :)

Funny about the documentary!

 

For a couple Christmases, my father made tumbleweed snowmen for our front lawn in Southern California.  I have very fond memories of tumbleweeds, and find them fascinating.  

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Funny about the documentary!

 

For a couple Christmases, my father made tumbleweed snowmen for our front lawn in Southern California.  I have very fond memories of tumbleweeds, and find them fascinating.  

 

Well GayD, trust me here...you'd probably find them MUCH less "fascinating" after running over a few large ones and having them getting caught under your car while driving on picturesque AZ Hwy 89A during heavy crosswinds between Sedona and Cottonwood, and like what has happened to me more than a few times.

 

(...they're just about like deer...they come out of nowhere and sometimes you just can't avoid 'em)

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Well GayD, trust me here...you'd probably find then MUCH less "fascinating" after running over a few large ones and having them getting caught under your car while driving on picturesque AZ Hwy 89A during heavy crosswinds between Sedona and Cottonwood, and like what has happened to me more than a few times.

 

(...they're just about like deer...they come out of nowhere and sometimes you just can't avoid 'em)

Whoops, hadn't really thought about that, Dargo. :unsure:  

I must keep in mind that tumbleweeds and squirrels (another thread!) can come with great peril. :ph34r: (This mysterious emoticon shall from now on signify great peril, for me, anyway.)

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Take away the Soviet connection, and admittedly that was very significant, and there was an overlap between communist and liberal positions on some issues.

 

Take away the calls for nationalizing industries and the slavish defense of Stalin's Russia, and you'd probably find that many of those "communist" positions on issues would seem downright mainstream today.  Many people who joined the Communist Party during the Depression were totally naive about the horrific realities of life in the USSR, but they weren't naive about the realities of many aspects of life in the United States that weren't so pretty, like Jim Crow and union-busting goon squads.  Context is everything.

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The fact that an issue like civil rights for blacks was supported by

the communists in no way negates that issue, at least in theory. In practice,

segregationists could always use that support as a weapon against civil

rights.

 

Here's one of their more restrained flyers. Note the 4th accusation:

treason-poster_web.jpg

 

And here's one that was reproduced on billboards, flyers and postcards all over the South:

 

communist.jpg

 

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No doubt many people have seen that infamous handbill due to its

wide reproduction in various magazines and books over the years.

A book, whose title I can't recall right now, came out just a couple

of years ago about the loony tune political climate in Dallas at that

time. I believe the authors didn't link this fact to Oswald's killing of

JFK. Oswald's motives were probably personal/psychological

and not political and he was, if he had any coherent political

philosophy at all, not a right winger.

 

I would guess that J. Edgar probably believed that King might himself

have been a communist. He certainly believed King associated with

communists.

 

The only question is why was Roy Cohn at the "communist training

school?"  ;)

Oswald was apart of the John Birch Society. Apparently that society still exists, and its key members go by the last name of Koch. 

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When Stanley Kramer made THE SNIPER, he was very wary of fireworks erupting between director Edward Dmytryk and star Adolphe Menjou.  He was much relieved by the complete professionalism and lack of acrymony on their part - both of whom were major figures in the HUAC hearings.

 

Here's an excerpt from Tom Weaver's interview with Dmytryk:

 

sniper.jpg

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When Stanley Kramer made THE SNIPER, he was very wary of fireworks erupting between director Edward Dmytryk and star Adolphe Menjou.  He was much relieved by the complete professionalism and lack of acrymony on their part - both of whom were major figures in the HUAC hearings.

 

Here's an excerpt from Tom Weaver's interview with Dmytryk:

 

sniper.jpg

Adolphe Menjou was quite the popular person among the "friendly witnesses" and those who sought to rid the "red" out of Hollywood. When shooting State Of The Union, Katharine Hepburn was so upset with him that she only spoke to him when the camera was rolling. One would think Adolphe was a clear enough signal to anyone who supported fascist tactics. 

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In light of Lauren Bacall's recent passing, what seems to have been shut out of her obituaries is her influence and impact during the blacklist years of the late 1940s and early-to-mid 1950s. 

 

http://www.alternet.org/culture/what-media-isnt-telling-you-about-lauren-bacall-and-bogart

 

It got me thinking about those years in which film careers were threatened, false accusations were parlayed as facts, and the human cost of it on the livelihood's of people in the performing arts. 

 

Since the only new insight I have recently discovered was that the President of the Screen Actor's Guild at the time, Ronald Reagan, acted as an FBI informant and ratted out his peers, I wondered what other insights are out there that might shed new light to this dark time in Hollywood history.

 

I am thinking about writing a series at the Classic Film Union about this within the coming months, and while I can relate to being blacklisted by people threatened by differences, I do want to ask this group of intelligent individuals here if they have or know of any new insights into this dark time in Hollywood history. 

Coincidentally, I just started to read a book on the McCarthy era. It's written by a British scholar. I don't know whether or not it's the definitive work on the subject.

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When Stanley Kramer made THE SNIPER, he was very wary of fireworks erupting between director Edward Dmytryk and star Adolphe Menjou.  He was much relieved by the complete professionalism and lack of acrymony on their part - both of whom were major figures in the HUAC hearings.

 

Here's an excerpt from Tom Weaver's interview with Dmytryk:

 

sniper.jpg

Great anecdote from Dmytryk, Ray, showing how two professionals could overcome their political differences in order to work (effectively, in this case) together. While there may be many haters of the blacklist who actively despise Adolph Menjou over his name dropping at the hearings (not to mention his blatantly arrogant attitude there, as well), it's very interesting that one of the Hollywood Ten could overcome it and work with him. Likewise, Menjou, too, the self proclaimed "w h o r e," in working with the director, and eating Chinese food with him.

 

It's too bad that Chinese food couldn't have brought more of the political left and right together. ;) I also suspect that having a bit of a sense of humour, along with the ability to have some detachment on the part of both parties, also helps.

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No doubt many people have seen that infamous handbill due to its

wide reproduction in various magazines and books over the years.

A book, whose title I can't recall right now, came out just a couple

of years ago about the loony tune political climate in Dallas at that

time. I believe the authors didn't link this fact to Oswald's killing of

JFK.

 

That book is Dallas 1963, by Bill Minutaglio and Steven Davis.  I'm in the middle of reading it now, and for anyone who wasn't around at the time and doesn't know about what Dallas was like back then, this book will be an eye-opener.  It has nothing to do with any Kennedy assassination conspiracies, but rather it concentrates solely on the loony and quasi-fascist political atmosphere of Dallas in the early 1960's that led up to the assassination.

 

And BTW I'm not using "quasi-fascist" lightly.  Anyone who thinks I'm exaggerating should read this book.

 

dallas1963.jpg

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It's very unlikely that Oswald was a Bircher, as his politics were the polar opposite

of those of the JBS. He would have been more likely to blow up a Bircher meeting

than to join. Oswald was a Marxist, not exactly Bircher material. The JBS is still around,

though much diminished since the days of the Get US out of the UN billboards.

This article states otherwise. 

 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/11/22/922161/-The-far-right-in-Dallas-in-November-1963#

 

Funny how there are people who say they learned history, yet don't learn its lessons. 

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It's very unlikely that Oswald was a Bircher, as his politics were the polar opposite

of those of the JBS. He would have been more likely to blow up a Bircher meeting

than to join.

 

And in fact just seven months before the Kennedy assassination, Oswald tried to gun down one of the John Birch Society's biggest heroes and most vocal defenders, General Edwin A. Walker.

 

General Walker, who was one of the leaders of the white mob that rioted when James Meredith first entered the University of Mississippi,  was also a Dallas resident, and is prominently featured in that Dallas 1963 book I mentioned earlier.  Oswald had about as much to do with the John Birch Society as Fidel Castro has to do with Ted Cruz.

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