1976 May 24

“Hollywood on Trial” Shown at Cannes Film Festival


The film Hollywood on Trial, a documentary on the Hollywood blacklist of the 1940s and 1950s, was shown on this day at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The Hollywood blacklist began with the confrontation between the “Hollywood Ten,” screenwriters and directors accused of Communist associations, and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which began on October 27, 1947. Members of the Hollywood Ten, a group of screenwriters and directors, refused to answer the committee’s questions, were convicted of contempt of Congress, and sentenced to prison. They were also immediately blacklisted from working in the movie industry. The major Hollywood studios announced the blacklist of people who refused to cooperate with investigating committees or were members of the Communist Party on December 3, 1947.

The film includes several victims of the blacklist: Dalton Trumbo, Walter Bernstein, Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, and Ring Lardner, Jr., among others. (Ring Lardner, Jr. later became famous as the author of the film M*A*S*H, which became the basis of the popular television series.) Hollywood on Trial was released in the U.S. in November 1976, and was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary.

For more on blacklisted Hollywood figures go to: Dalton Trumbo (October 28, 1947; March 27, 1957; May 2, 1975); Ring Lardner, Jr., (October 30, 1947); and Michael Wilson (November 25, 1956; February 24, 1957; February 8, 1968).

Find Hollywood on Trial at IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074635/

Watch Dalton Trumbo’s confrontation with HUAC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFR4RIyekis

Read about the Hollywood blacklist: Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund, Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930–1960 (1980)

Watch Ring Lardner, Jr. recall his experience with HUAC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv97sMC2_bM

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