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Hollywood on Trial

In the 40s and 50s the House on Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) ran an investigation on communist activities in Hollywood. Hundreds were blacklisted for not cooperating or suspected involvement with the communist party. Communist believed there was an established base in the dominant medium of mass media. The Hollywood Ten was a list of writers, actors, and directors that showed the most resistence during the proceedings. They had written or directed hundreds of films. The list which I have included below indicated one of the highest paid directors in this era, Dalton Trumbo. All served between six and twelve months in jail for promoting their right to the 5th Amendment. They were held in contempt and sentenced. All but Edward Dmytryk served their term. His sentence was cut short by his cooperation with the HUAC. The blacklist of Hollywood will be remembered forever. It was hard if not impossible to find work in Hollywood if you had been "blacklisted." Many actors, directors, and writers went on to do films in Mexico or Europe. Writers used pseudonyms and aliases to find any work they could. If one could get a passport they were quickly on their way out of the country. The 1947 investigation of Communist Infiltration of the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry brought about by the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) denied the Motion Picture Industry of the United States of America much of its talent in the 1950s by blacklisting humanitarian idealists or so called "communists". The House of Un-American Activities Committee and McCarthy's blacklisting of the members of the Motion Picture community denied America talented writers, actors, producers and directors for an entire decade. America was also denied movies that involved social problems out of fear. It is pathetic that so many had to suffer because of fear. Many lives were destroyed and it was an anti-climax for the studio system in Hollywood. Society is to blame for letting the trials occur. Society has been paying for this mistake for 50 years by not letting its most talented members contribute to entertaining and educating the public. Slowly Hollywood is editing out its communist past. Screen credits are rightfully being replaced in films. Unfortunately, it won't replace the lost years of talent that could have been recognized instead of shunned and could have taught us instead of being at a stand still. Hollywood was denied its greatest talents in the 1950s.

The Hollywood 10

My Favorite Web Sites

The Hollywood Blacklist
Documentary on Hollywood Blacklist