Hollywood, Film & Politics
Chapter 5: HUAC and the Blacklist: The Red Scare Comes to Hollywood
“I could answer the question…but if I did I would hate myself in the morning.” —Ring Lardner Jr. before HUAC “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” —Lillian Hellman on “naming names” to HUAC “Joe couldn’t find a Communist in Red Square—he didn’t know Karl Marx from Groucho.” —George Reedy on McCarthy “There was bad faith and good, honesty and dishonesty, courage and cowardice, selflessness and opportunism, wisdom and stupidity, good and bad on both sides…in the end…we were all victims…no one emerged from that long nightmare without sin.” —Dalton Trumbo, on the HUAC hearings In a scene at the end of Irwin Winkler’s 1991 film, Guilty by Suspicion, actor Robert De Niro, playing a prominent film director falsely accused of being a communist, rises from his chair and shouts at the members of the congressional committee interrogating him: “Shame on you! Shame on you!” Television viewers old enough to remember the Army- McCarthy hearings might recall a similar scene where special counsel for the army, Joseph Welch, turns to the senator from Wisconsin and says, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” Unfortunately, that final scene in Suspicion is the highlight of a rather lackluster film about life in post-World War II Hollywood where the real drama being played out was far more exciting and tumultuous than anything portrayed on screen. The industry was so em- barrassed by...
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