Communism in Hollywood: The Moral Paradoxes of Testimony, Silence, and Betrayal

Overview

Much has been written about the history of Communism in America, including the Party's appeal to many in the Hollywood community of the 1930s and 40s. While several books have offered standard accounts of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings and the blacklist in the entertainment industry, Alan Casty provides a fresh and provocative perspective. In Communism in Hollywood: The Moral Paradoxes of Testimony, Silence, and Betrayal, Casty challenges the absolute dualisms of the period: cowardly ...

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Communism in Hollywood: The Moral Paradoxes of Testimony, Silence, and Betrayal

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Overview

Much has been written about the history of Communism in America, including the Party's appeal to many in the Hollywood community of the 1930s and 40s. While several books have offered standard accounts of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings and the blacklist in the entertainment industry, Alan Casty provides a fresh and provocative perspective. In Communism in Hollywood: The Moral Paradoxes of Testimony, Silence, and Betrayal, Casty challenges the absolute dualisms of the period: cowardly informers and heroic martyrs. Drawing on newly available material, Casty illustrates the control by the international Communist movement and the role of the Hollywood Communists themselves in fomenting the intense hostilities of the period. Casty juxtaposes the actions and statements of those who testified and "named names" before HUAC with Communists who refused to testify and remained silent about the atrocities of the Soviet Union. By providing a scrupulous account of the full scope of the Communist Party in Hollywood, this book presents a more accurate picture of the moral quandaries faced during this dark period in American history.

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Editorial Reviews

Communication Booknotes Quarterly
Challenges the absolute (and largely accepted) dual take on the period: cowardly informers who "named names" and heroic martyrs who refused to do so. Drawing on new material, Casty, a long time film historian, focuses on the control by the international Communist movement and the role of the Hollywood communists themselves in fomenting the intense hostilities of the period.
Jump Cut:A Review Of Contemporary Media
Drawing upon the Yale Annals and related findings, Alan Casty proposes what might be called a counter-revisionist history of the blacklist. He is no fan of HUAC nor of the blacklist. Nevertheless, his book sizzles with hatred of Communism.
February 2010 Choice
The Hollywood blacklist continues to be a fascinating topic for scholars, and this book is likely to generate heated debate among those familiar with the period. The book reminds one that the truth of the period lies somewhere between Casty's view and the more Left-leaning view. Excellent research and endnotes. Recommended.
February 2010 CHOICE
The Hollywood blacklist continues to be a fascinating topic for scholars, and this book is likely to generate heated debate among those familiar with the period. The book reminds one that the truth of the period lies somewhere between Casty's view and the more Left-leaning view. Excellent research and endnotes. Recommended.
Jump Cut:A Review Of Contemporary Media
Drawing upon the Yale Annals and related findings, Alan Casty proposes what might be called a counter-revisionist history of the blacklist. He is no fan of HUAC nor of the blacklist. Nevertheless, his book sizzles with hatred of Communism.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810869486
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 8/3/2009
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 1,110,259
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Casty is the author of The Dramatic Art of the Film, The Films of Robert Rossen, and Mass Media and Mass Man.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Before the Congressional Hearings: The Shaping of a Culture of Ideology, Art, and Conflict

1 Emblems of Righteous Ideology: The "Trials" of Albert Maltz and Robert Rossen 3

2 The Moral Equation Redefined: Testimony and Silence, Decency and Betrayal 16

3 The Birth of the Hollywood Party: The Establishment of Comintern Control 30

4 The Hollywood Party in Peace and War: Idealism, Discipline, and Reality 44

5 A Climate of Hostilities and Betrayals: Writers Wars, Street Battles, and Broken Alliances 56

6 Robert Rossen: A Life in the Party and in the Movies 72

7 The Consequences of Ideology: The Emblematic Battle of Body and Soul 90

Pt. II The Hearings Begin: Party Discipline and the Realities of the Soviet World

8 The First Hearings, 1947: The Strategies, the Combat, and the Consequences 109

9 Testimony and Silence: just a Democratic Political Association and the Secret World of Communism 123

10 The Lie Deep within the Silence: The CPUSA and Obedience to the Destructive Policies of the Soviet Union 136

11 Testimony and Silence: Jews, Free Speech, and the Degrees of Betrayal 153

Pt. III The Time of the Blacklist - and the Times Since

12 The Time of Turmoil, 1947 to 1951: Hollywood Besieged, Crusades Continue - Wallace, Peace, and Korea 171

13 The Time of Trials: The Smith Act, the Rosenbergs, and Alger Hiss 183

14 Robert Rossen: Testing of a Moral Life in Hollywood and in Films 198

15 The Time of Turmoil, 1951 and After: The Hearings Resume, the Real Blacklist Begins 209

16 What Is Behaving Decently? Those Who Testified and Named Names 224

17 What Is Behaving Decently? Those Who DidNot Testify, Attacked, and Remained Silent 242

18 Hearings and Filmmaking: The Denial of Value and the Record on Film 254

19 Testifying and Filmmaking: Attacks on Individuals and the Record on Film 267

20 The Moral Crusade in Its Broader Context: The Myth of Total McCarthyism 285

Notes 303

Bibliography 345

Index 353

About the Author 369

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