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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