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Here’s Looking at You

Hollywood, Film & Politics

Series:

Ernest Giglio

Here’s Looking at You: Hollywood, Film & Politics examines the tangled relationship between politics and Hollywood, which manifests itself in celebrity involvement in political campaigns and elections, and in the overt and covert political messages conveyed by Hollywood films. The book’s findings contradict the film industry’s assertion that it is simply in the entertainment business, and examines how, while the majority of Hollywood films are strictly commercial ventures, hundreds of movies – ranging from Birth of a Nation to Fahrenheit 9/11 – do indeed contain political messages. Here’s Looking at You serves as a basic text for political film courses and as a supplement in American government and film studies courses, and will also appeal to film buffs and people in the film industry.
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Chapter 5: HUAC and the Blacklist: The Red Scare Comes to Hollywood

Extract

“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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