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TCM Spotlight: The Hollywood Blacklist
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The Hollywood Blacklist - Mon & Tues in November


"The Hollywood Blacklist" marked a turbulent period during the Cold War and was the result of the American government embarking on what some considered to be a "witch hunt" against communism, ruining many career and lives. Beginning in 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) conducted a series of investigations into Hollywood actors, screenwriters, directors and other creative types, inquiring into their ties to communism and any motives they may have had to spread subversive ideas.

This month's Spotlight on TCM highlights the professionals that were affected, along with the films they worked on or in. The month's films are divided into categories and host Ben Mankiewicz will be joined by two special co-hosts. On November 20 and 21, the author of High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, Glenn Frankel, will sit down with Ben, and on November 27 and 28 actress and director Lee Grant, who was directly affected by the Blacklist, will focus on comebacks after the controversial investigations.

Before the Blacklist - The Hollywood Ten looks at the individuals who were cited for contempt of Congress and blacklisted after refusing to answer questions about their alleged involvement with the Communist Party: screenwriters Alvah Bessie and Leslie Cole (Objective, Burma!, 1945), Ring Lardner Jr. (Woman of the Year, 1942), John Howard Lawson (Counter-Attack, 1945), Albert Maltz (Pride of the Marines, 1945), Samuel Ornitz (One Man's Journey, 1933) and Dalton Trumbo (Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, 1945); director/screenwriter Herbert J. Biberman (The Master Race, 1944); and director Edward Dmytryk and producer/screenwriter Adrian Scott (Crossfire, 1947).

Before the Blacklist - Others Blacklisted (Writers and Directors) includes writer Sidney Buchman (Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), director John Cromwell (The Racket, 1951), director Jules Dassin (The Naked City, 1948), director Irving Pichel (The Man I Married, TCM premiere, 1940), writer-director Abraham Polonsky (Force of Evil, 1948) and writers Marguerite Roberts and John Sanford (Honky Tonk, 1941).

Before the Blacklist - Others Blacklisted (Actors) features Morris Carnovsky (Gun Crazy, 1949), Dorothy Comingore (Citizen Kane, 1941), John Garfield and Norman Lloyd (He Ran All the Way, 1951), Marsha Hunt (A Letter for Evie, 1945), Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951), Karen Morley (Scarface, 1931) and Gale Sondergaard (Anthony Adverse, 1936).

During the Blacklist - Working Abroad and Using Pseudonyms is co-hosted by Frankel with a focus on the talents that continued working by leaving Hollywood and using false names or forgoing credit. Director Herbert J. Biberman, writer Michael Wilson, producer Paul Jarrico and actor Will Geer shot Salt of the Earth (1954) primarily in New Mexico and Mexico. Writer Dalton Trumbo, who was fronted by Robert Rich on The Brave One (1956), saw his OscarĀ® for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story go to Rich before finally claiming it in 1975. John Howard Lawson, who co-wrote Cry, the Beloved Country (1952) was not given a screen credit until after his death. American-born director Jules Dassin (Rififi, 1955) relocated to Europe so successfully that many thought he was a native Greek or Frenchman. Joseph Losey, another American director, (The Big Night, 1951) relocated to Great Britain and sometimes used the pseudonym "Joseph Walton."

After the Blacklist - Comebacks is co-hosted by Grant. This night focuses on those who were fortunate enough to reclaim their careers after surviving the notoriety of the blacklist. These included director Martin Ritt (Edge of the City, 1957) and actors Jeff Corey (The Cincinnati Kid, 1965), Zero Mostel (The Front, 1976), Grant (The Landlord, 1970) and Howard Da Silva (David and Lisa, 1962) among others in this month's programming.

By Roger Fristoe
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