Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left

Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left

Ronald Radosh

Language: English

Pages: 296

ISBN: 1594031460

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Until now, Hollywood's political history has been dominated by a steady stream of films and memoirs decrying the nightmare of the Red Scare. But Ronald and Allis Radosh show that the real drama of that era lay in the story of the movie stars, directors and especially screenwriters who joined the Communist Party or traveled in its orbit, and made the Party the focus of their political and social lives. The authors' most controversial discovery is that during the investigations of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the Hollywood Reds themselves were beset by doubts and disagreements about their disloyalty to America, and their own treatment by the Communist Party. Abandoned by their old CP allies, they faced the Blacklist alone.

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Revolution, we will trace Hollywood’s fascination with radicalism in the 1930s—when the film industry was growing up and many future Hollywood personalities visited the Soviet Union, saw a future they believed would work everywhere, and returned to make that vision a reality at home. During the Depression and the rise of fascism in Europe, many of those who worked in the film world fell under the influence of such prophets and reacted to the gathering storm by tying their fortunes to those of the

as a Communist icon. The Party again took advantage of the relaxed climate to develop new front groups that would replace the old Popular Front coalitions done in by the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Among them were the Hollywood Writers Mobilization, the Actors’ Laboratory Theatre and the People’s Educational Center. Excited by the chance to contribute to the war effort, as well 84 Red Star over Hollywood as the chance to make new contacts with established directors, writers and actors, scores of young

films, Losey saw the Soviet government sponsoring theater and film, and directors and writers counting among Europe’s avant-garde. The Romance Begins 7 Losey met the famous modernist directors Vsevolod Meyerhold and Nikolai Okhlopkov. He attended Meyerhold’s drama school and the classes taught by the greatest of Soviet film directors, Sergei Eisenstein. There he met Jay Leyda, a young American filmmaker who had used a grant to travel to the USSR and become Eisenstein’s student and protégé. Leyda

against Italian aggression. The final script indicates that the camera should make a “MED. PANNING SHOT over the faces of the French delegates.” The reason for this was crucial: “I suggest leaving the camera on the French delegation during this portion of Selassie’s speech,” Leyda told Koch. “The device we are using throughout the scene is to have Selassie’s words point a finger at the various countries that are selling him out. So by having these words over the [face of Soviet Ambassador]

temporarily expelled; Maltz, however, stepped back into line when confronted by Lawson’s tempestuous outburst. Given his run-ins with Lawson and the cultural commissars and his ultimate submission to their dictates, it is surprising that Maltz ever submitted his essay to the New Masses. Perhaps he had convinced himself that things had changed during the war years, and that the day of the hardliners like Lawson and V. J. Jerome had ended. If so, he was soon to be disabused—faced with an assault

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