Magazine article The New Yorker

Black and White and Red All Over

Magazine article The New Yorker

Black and White and Red All Over

Article excerpt

In a scene straight out of a screwball comedy, Norma Barzman shoved a pie in her future husband's face on the day they met. In The Red and the Blacklist (Thunder's Mouth), Barzman recounts other zany moments among Communist-sympathizer screenwriters during the time of the blacklist. A young Norma Jean Baker tips off Barzman and her husband to police surveillance. They dodge subpoenas by swapping houses with another couple; later they find that a rented house in France is filled with hoarded Nazi gold. Even their political beliefs have a Hollywood glow: Barzman writes, "Communist couples had a romantic notion of themselves as the ideal young man and young woman surging forward with the Red flag, the logo of Artkino (Soviet films)."

Richard Schickel's childhood in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, was never so glamorous, but in Good Morning, Mr. Zip Zip Zip (Ivan R. Dee), he recalls the many movies written by the soon-to-be-blacklisted that offered romanticized visions of American and Russian societies during the Second World War. …

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