“The Era of McCarthyism and the Hollywood Ten (1950) Communist in the Industry” Part 2

John Howard Lawson (1894 – 1977)

AP Images

<li>Born in New York City to a wealthy family, Lawson (ne Levy) wrote his first play (<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">A Hindoo Love Drama</em>) at age 16 as an undergraduate at Williams College. Following a stint as a volunteer ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, where he served alongside Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos and E.E. Cummings, Lawson edited a newspaper in Rome and worked as a publicity director for the American Red Cross. During the 1920s and 1930s, he began writing left-leaning plays, some of which made it to Broadway.</li>
<li>He sold his first script in 1920 to Paramount, and eight years later MGM offered him a writing contract. In 1933, he co-founded the Screen Writers Guild, serving as its first president. That same year he also wrote two Broadway plays and joined the Communist Party. In 1938, he earned his lone Oscar nomination, for best story, for&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">Blockade</em>, a Spanish Civil War drama starring Henry Fonda.</li>
<li>The Knights of Columbus denounced it as “Marxist propaganda.”</li>
<li>When it was Lawson’s turn to testify at the HUAC hearings in 1947, he attempted to make a statement but was silenced by the thundering gavel of the committee chairman, J. Parnell Thomas. Lawson served his 12-month sentence at the minimum-security federal correctional facility in Ashland, Kentucky.</li>
<li>After his release, Lawson moved to Mexico, where, in 1951, he wrote the screen adaptation for a British production of Alan Paton’s novel&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">Cry, the Beloved Country</em>, which was the first film to depict apartheid in South Africa. Lawson was originally not credited, with Paton cited as the screenwriter. In an interview with&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">The New York Times</em>, he said, “I’m much more completely blacklisted than the others. I’m much more notorious and extremely proud of that. It had much to do with the fact that I helped organize the Guild.”</li>
<li>Albert Maltz (1908 – 1985)</li>
<li><img src="https://americaoncoffeepray4rworld.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_8091.jpg" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-13999" width="375" height="563"/></li>
<li>Courtesy of Photofest</li>
<li>Brooklyn-born Maltz graduated from Columbia University in 1928 and attended the Yale School of Drama, where he earned a master’s degree in the craft of playwriting. In the New York theater community, he was known for staging his pointed dramas in progressive venues like the Theatre Union and the Group Theater. His 1932 play&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">Merry Go Round</em>, a political exposé based on a Cleveland murder, was adapted into a film.</li>
<li>Maltz joined the American Communist Party in 1935 but channeled his politics into writing. His short story “The Happiest Man on Earth,” about unemployment during the Depression, won the 1938 O. Henry Award. In 1941, Maltz moved to Los Angeles for a job with Warner Bros., penning the gritty noir adaptation of Graham Greene’s&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">This Gun for Hire</em>.</li>
<li>He received a 1945 Oscar nomination for best screenplay for&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">The Pride of the Marines</em>.Despite his contributions to the war effort, Maltz was subpoenaed to testify at the HUAC hearings. While refusing to answer questions on First Amendment grounds, Maltz was able to get a statement on the record: “I am an American, and I believe there is no more proud word in the vocabulary of man.”</li>
<li>Nevertheless, he was tried and convicted of contempt of Congress.Before he was dispatched to the federal lockup in Ashland, Ky. — the same facility that housed Adrian Scott and Dalton Trumbo, fellow members of the Hollywood Ten — he recruited his friend Michael Blankfort to front for him on an adaptation of his 1944 novel&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">The Cross and the Arrow</em>, which became the film&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">Broken Arrow</em>, starring James Stewart. The sympathetic treatment of Native Americans in the Western earned Maltz an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay.After prison, Maltz moved to Mexico City, where he wrote novels and uncredited screenplays for&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">The Robe</em>(1953) and other films. By 1970, producers agreed to give Maltz credit for writing&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing:border-box;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-variant:inherit;font-weight:inherit;font-stretch:inherit;line-height:inherit;font-family:inherit;vertical-align:baseline;">Two Mules for Sister Sara</em>, a Western starring Clint Eastwood.</li>Robert Adrian Scott (1911 – 1972)

  • Born into a middle-class family in Arlington, N.J., Scott wrote magazine articles before moving to Hollywood. Starting in 1940, he contributed to several scripts, including the one for the popular Cary Grant comedy Mr. Lucky. Scott received more acclaim as a producer. He and director Edward Dmytryk, a future fellow Hollywood Ten member, teamed up on a string of dark thrillers, including Murder, My Sweet(1944), based on Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely, and Crossfire (1947), an anti-Semitism drama that received five Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director.
  • In 1947, at the height of his career, Scott was subpoenaed to testify at the HUAC hearings (he had joined the Communist Party in 1944). He became one of the Hollywood Ten when he refused to answer the committee’s questions on First Amendment grounds. While waiting a court ruling, Scott moved to London to look for work but decided to return when the courts refused to overturn HUAC’s contempt charge. He noted that “nine of us couldn’t go into court with the 10th on the lam.
  • That would have made it impossible for the rest who were left.”Scott was sentenced on Sept. 27, 1950, to the federal prison in Ashland, Ky. In the meantime, he had sued RKO Pictures for wrongful dismissal; the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where it was rejected in 1957. After serving his sentence he moved to London, eventually finding work writing without credit for television, including the British series The Adventures of Robin Hood.

    When the blacklist ended in 1960 with Dalton Trumbo’s onscreen credits for Exodus and Spartacus, Scott returned to Los Angeles to work for Universal.

    Dalton Trumbo (1905 – 1976)

    AP Images
    During his high school years in Grand Junction, Colorado, Trumbo landed a job as a cub reporter for the Grand Junction Sentinel, covering everything from school events to athletic news, crime to obituaries. In 1924 he enrolled at the University of Colorado, where he wrote for the school paper as well as the 

  • Boulder Daily Camera. In 1925, when his father lost his job, Dalton moved with the family to Los Angeles. Soon after, his father died.To earn tuition money for the University of Southern California, Trumbo took what he intended to be a short-term job at a bakery in downtown Los Angeles. Instead, he ended up working there until 1932. In that time, he studied writing, criticism and psychology at USC, established himself as a writer and made a little money on the side by check kiting and bootlegging.
  • In 1933 he left the bakery to become the associate editor of the Hollywood Spectator, where he was already a contributor, and the following year moved to the story department at Warner Bros. In October 1935 he was promoted to screenwriter, a position that he only expected to tide him over until he established himself as a novelist.
  • Instead, he ended up with more than 50 screenplays and adapted stories to his credit. His first, Road Gang, was released in 1936.When Warner Bros. tried to force Trumbo to switch unions — from the Screen Writers Guild, run by John Howard Lawson, to a more pliable upstart, the Screen Playwrights — he refused, and the studio voided his contract. This mini-blacklist lasted about six months. Trumbo signed with Columbia, where he wrote a few B pictures, and then moved to MGM, which bounced him after two fruitless years. He managed to sell a script to Warners and eight B movies to RKO.
  • Trumbo was more focused on what would become his best-known novel. Published in September 1939, two days after the start of World War II, Johnny Got His Gun is an antiwar novel about an American soldier wounded on the last day of the First World War. He loses his limbs, eyes, ears, mouth and nose and has no way to communicate with the people around him. It won an early National Book Award. (In 1971, Trumbo wrote and directed a film version.)

    Trumbo’s big film break was Kitty Foyle(1940), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. During the war he wrote a number of screenplays and in 1943, after being a fellow traveler for years, Trumbo decided to join the Communist Party. After refusing to testify at the HUAC hearings in 1947, Trumbo was convicted of contempt of Congress. The following year, he and the party went their separate ways.

    In 1950, after exhausting the appeals process, he spent 11 months in a federal prison in Ashland, Ky. From his cell he wrote letters home to his wife, Cleo, and their three children, many of which he signed, “From Daddy. Dalton Trumbo. Prisoner #7551.”After prison, he lived in Mexico in a tight-knit community with other blacklist exiles, including Ring Lardner Jr. and Albert Maltz.

    In 1953 he wrote the story for Roman Holiday, which was fronted by his screenwriter friend Ian McLellan Hunter, who himself was later blacklisted. It won the Academy Award for best screenplay, as did The Brave One (1956), which he wrote under the name Robert Rich.In 1960, Trumbo’s public billing for Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus and Otto Preminger’s Exodus was a one-two epic punch that effectively marked the end of the blacklist

    Source: http://www.wwwhollywoodreporter.com

    One thought on ““The Era of McCarthyism and the Hollywood Ten (1950) Communist in the Industry” Part 2

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s