The Marxist and the Movies: A Biography of Paul Jarrico

By Larry Ceplair | Go to book overview

6
The Blacklist Expands, 1951–52

What if there were a list? A list that said: Our finest actors
weren’t allowed to act. Our best writers weren’t allowed to write.
Our funniest comedians weren’t allowed to make us laugh. What
would it be like if there were such a list? It would be like America
in 1953.

—Paul Jarrico, 1976

The political situation in Hollywood did not seem too dire to Jarrico in September 1950. He wrote to Abe Polonsky, who was in France, “The only sound is the shuffling of feet, the foolish, embarrassed, legalistic waltz of the nouveaux conquerors. No whooping swooping raids by night, just whittle whittle here, whittle whittle there. No defiant counterattack, just a slow falling back, pretending you don’t care.” But the slow falling back was on the verge of becoming a massive retreat. In April 1950, Counterattack had exposed actor Edward G. Robinson as a member of ASP, and three months later, Red Channels linked him to ten subversive organizations and periodicals. Robinson tried various methods to clear himself, including two voluntary appearances before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, on October 27 and December 21.1 Dore Schary, no longer willing to be accused of employing Communists, went to the FBI’s Los Angeles office on December 12. He was, reported the SACLA, “very concerned that MGM not hire any Communists or Communist Sympathizers, especially Betsy Blair. He inquired if there was any assistance the Bureau could give him in matters of this nature.”2 Communists and

-117-

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The Marxist and the Movies: A Biography of Paul Jarrico
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Part 1- Screenwriting 1
  • 1- The Early Years 1915–36 3
  • 2- Screenwriting and Communism, 1936–39 25
  • 3- World War II, 1939–45 45
  • Part 2- Blacklist 81
  • 4- The Cold War in Hollywood, 1945–47 83
  • 5- The Interregnum, 1948–50 101
  • 6- The Blacklist Expands, 1951–52 117
  • 7- Salt of the Earth, 1952–54 137
  • 8- The Black Market and Khrushchev’s Speech, 1954–58 159
  • Part 3- Emigration 175
  • 9- Europe, 1958–75 177
  • 10- Political Battles, 1958–75 201
  • Part 4- Home Again 219
  • 11- Back in the USA, 1975–97 221
  • Epilogue 237
  • Filmography 243
  • Notes 255
  • Index 311
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