Radical Innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten

Overview

On October 30, 1947, the House Committee on Un-American Activities concluded the first round of hearings on the allege Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry. Hollywood was ordered to "clean its own house," and ten witnesses who had refused to answer questions about their membership in the Screen Writers Guild and the Communist party eventually received contempt citations. By 1950 the Hollywood Ten, as they quickly became known, were serving prison sentences ranging from six months to a year. Since...

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Overview

On October 30, 1947, the House Committee on Un-American Activities concluded the first round of hearings on the allege Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry. Hollywood was ordered to "clean its own house," and ten witnesses who had refused to answer questions about their membership in the Screen Writers Guild and the Communist party eventually received contempt citations. By 1950 the Hollywood Ten, as they quickly became known, were serving prison sentences ranging from six months to a year. Since that time the group, which included writers, directors, and a producer, have been either dismissed as industry hacks or eulogized as Cold War martyrs, but never have they been discussed in terms of their profession.

Radical Innocence is the first study to focus on the work of the Ten: their short stories, plays, novels, criticism, poems, memoirs, and, of course, their films. Drawing on myriad sources, including archival materials, unpublished manuscripts, black-market scripts, screenplay drafts, letters, and personal interviews, Bernard F. Dick describes the Ten's survival tactics during the blacklisting and analyzes the contribution of these ten individuals no only to film but also to the arts. Radical Innocence captures the personality of each of the Ten -- the arrogant Herbert J. Biberman, the witty Ring Lardner, Jr., the patriarchal Samuel Ornitz, the compassionate Adrian Scott, and the feisty Dalton Trumbo.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Rescues the Hollywood Ten from their usual collective anonymity by individualizing their talents and their politics...Thoroughly researched and sharply written, the work concludes with a superb chronology/bibliography/filmography for each writer." -- Choice

"Most of the Ten found their creativity stymied, their career options limited by their notoriety. This insightful critical study lifts a veil off a period of blacklisting paranoia that lingered on until the mid-1960's." -- Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The story of the Hollywood Tenscreenwriters, directors and one producer who went to prison for defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947has been told before in memoirs, histories and movies. Dick, author of The Star-Spangled Screen , takes a different tack; his 10 chapters closely analyze the writing career of each dissenter. Scriptwriter John Howard Lawson channeled his Marxist sympathies into fashioning star vehicles for James Cagney, that populist rebel against society. Ring Lardner Jr. was vilified by the media as an ingrate who forsook a country that bestowed fame on his humorist father; later he won an Oscar for the script of M*A*S*H. Novelist Dalton Trumbo ( Johnny Got His Gun ) survived prison to break the blacklist; in 1956 he embarrassed Hollywood's elite by winning an Oscar for The Brave One under a pseudonym. Yet most of the Ten found their creativity stymied, their career options limited by their notoriety. This insightful critical study lifts a veil off a period of blacklisting paranoia that lingered on until the mid-1960s. (Dec.)
Booknews
The first attempt at focusing attention on the short stories, novels, plays, criticisms, poems, memoirs, and films of the so-called "Hollywood Ten," a group who refused to answer questions regarding their membership in the Communist Party and the Screen Writers Guild when under investigation by the infamous House Committee on Un- American Activities. Draws on sources ranging from archives to black- market scripts. An intriguing work of a strange time. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813193281
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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