The Marxist and the Movies: A Biography of Paul Jarrico

By Larry Ceplair | Go to book overview

8
The Black Market and
Khrushchev’s Speech, 1954–58

The atmosphere here has improved enormously since the [U.S.-
USSR] meeting at the summit [Geneva, July 1955].… Personally
I’m finding it increasingly easy to make a living again, and I also
find time to fight the good fight for a lasting peace and a people’s
democracy. Not, however, by making decent films. That is my one
great frustration.

—Paul Jarrico, 1956

The year 1954 was the height of the domestic cold war. Public opinion polls registered overwhelmingly anti-Communist sentiments,1 and Congress enacted the Communist Control Act, which effectively stripped the party of most of its due process rights.2 Though the Senate condemned Senator Joseph McCarthy in early December, one month later, it unanimously approved a resolution stating, “The Communist Party of the United States is recognized to be a part of the international Communist conspiracy against the United States and all the democratic forms of government. It is the sense of the Senate that its appropriate committees should continue diligently and vigorously to investigate, expose, and combat this conspiracy and all subversive elements and persons connected therewith.”3

As we have seen, the full weight of this anti-Communist apparatus had been employed against the makers of Salt of the Earth. Jarrico, back in Los Angeles, now felt its weight on him as an individual. He immediately began to seek work on the black market using the pseudonym “Peter Achilles.” He wrote to a prospective

-159-

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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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