In the late 1940s and 50s, Hollywood was rife with left-leaning artists who were called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee on the grounds of a real or perceived connection with the American Communist Party.
Many were blacklisted from working for the studios as a result. This series presents some of the notable films of those blacklisted or called to testify before HUAC.
- Woman of the Year (1942), Dir. George Stevens
Columnist Katharine Hepburn meets sportswriter Spencer Tracy in their first comedy together. Written by blacklisted screenwriter Ring Lardner, Jr., one of the Hollywood Ten, who won an Oscar for it.
- Murder, My Sweet (1944), Dir. Edward Dmytryk
Dick Powell portrays Philip Marlowe in this iconic film noir. Director Dmytryk was called to testify before HUAC and producer Adrian Scott was one of the Hollywood Ten.
- Body and Soul (1947), Dir. Robert Rossen
Charley Davis (John Garfield) is an up-and-coming boxer who must weigh the price of fame and money against the loss of himself. With an Oscar-nominated screenplay by Abraham Polonsky.
- Force of Evil (1948), Dir. Abraham Polonsky
Lawyer Joe Morse defends racketeer who takes over his big brother’s small-time numbers business. This film noir gave John Garfield the role of his career.
- Thieves' Highway (1949), Dir. Jules Dassin
Film noir of corruption in the long-haul trucking business in California. Dassin left to work in Europe after making this film.
- The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Dir. John Huston
The premier heist noir, scripted by blacklistee Ben Maddow and Huston, this story shows the chimera of greed desperate people chase after in their quest for happiness.
- Night and the City (1950), Dir. Jules Dassin
Starring Richard Widmark in his greatest role as petty hustler Harry Fabian, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Herbert Lom and Hugh Marlowe.
- Detective Story (1951), Dir. Willliam Wyler
Based on Sidney Kingsley’s play, the story shows how law enforcement can become authoritarian and violent in its bigotry.
- He Ran All the Way (1951), Dir. John Berry
Starring John Garfield, Shelley Winters, Wallace Ford and Selena Royle, the film was written, uncredited, by blacklistees Hugo Butler and Dalton Trumbo.
- Roman Holiday (1953), Dir. William Wyler
Starring Audrey Hepburn in her Oscar-winning role, plus Gregory Peck and Eddie Albert. Co-written by John Dighton and blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.
Andrew Dickos is the author of Street with No Name: A History of the Classic American Film Noir and Intrepid Laughter: Preston Sturges and the Movies.
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