Ep 16: Show Trial - Hollywood, HUAC, and the Birth of the Blacklist, with Tom Doherty
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Ep 16: Show Trial - Hollywood, HUAC, and the Birth of the Blacklist, with Tom Doherty

Brandeis professor Tom Doherty joins us to discuss his new book about the 1947 Congressional hearings that led directly to Hollywood's anti-Communist blacklist. We start by untangling a few terms often used to describe the events of the time--HUAC, McCarthyism, the Red Scare--and the overall timeline of events in and around the hearings (2:15).

Then we discuss the perspectives and strategies adopted by each of the main factions from Hollywood who were involved in the 1947 hearings: the studio bosses and their industry representatives from the MPAA (19:20), the staunch anti-Communist conservatives of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (34:55), the activist anti-HUAC liberals of the Committee for the First Amendment (44:45), and the Communist party members and sympathizers known as the Unfriendly Nineteen, whose ranks were randomly culled to the Hollywood Ten (51:30).

We finish with how the end of the hearings led rapidly to the blacklist (1:03:30), the role that film noir played in smuggling what may have been considered subversive content into movies of the time (1:10:00), and a story about one of the last surviving people who was directly involved in the hearings, Marsha Hunt (1:15:00).

Tom Doherty's book is available at: https://www.amazon.com/Show-Trial-Hollywood-Blacklist-Culture/dp/0231187785

Screenshots from several noir films where Diego Rivera's painting The Flower Carrier appears in the background, a possible sign of solidarity with victims of the blacklist: https://twitter.com/EddieMuller/status/934043742280884225

NOIR CITY Austin schedule and tickets: https://drafthouse.com/austin/program/noir-city-austin-2018

NOIR CITY Boston schedule and tickets: http://www.brattlefilm.org/category/noir-city-boston/

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Music: Themes from I Walk Alone (by Victor Young), Crossfire (Roy Webb), and Dark Passage (Franz Waxman).

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