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The Suppression of Salt of the Earth: How Hollywood, Big Labor, and Politicians Blacklisted a Movie in the American Cold War / Edition 1

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Overview

This impassioned history tells a story of censorship and politics during the early Cold War. The author recounts the 1950 Empire Zinc Strike in Bayard, New Mexico, the making of the extraordinary motion picture Salt of the Earth by Local 890 of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, and the film's suppression by Hollywood, federal and state governments, and organized labor. This disturbing episode reflects the intense fear that gripped America during the Cold War and reveals the unsavory side of the rapprochement between organized labor and big business in the 1950s. In the face of intense political opposition, blackballed union activists, blacklisted Hollywood artists and writers, and Local 890 united to write a script, raise money, hire actors and crews, and make and distribute the film. Rediscovered in the 1970s, Salt of the Earth is a revealing celluloid document of socially conscious unionism that sought to break down racial barriers, bridge class divisions, and emphasize the role of women. Lorence has interviewed participants in the strike and film such as Clinton Jencks and Paul Jarrico and has consulted private and public archives to reconstruct the story of this extraordinary documentary and the coordinated efforts to suppress it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826320285
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 295
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James J. Lorence is professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin, Marathon County.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Cold War America: The Great Fear Comes Home 1
Ch. 2 Cold War Unionism: The Isolation of Mine-Mill and the Empire Zinc Strike 19
Ch. 3 A Chance Meeting and the Birth of an Idea: Origins of Salt of the Earth 47
Ch. 4 Making History on Film: Production Problems and Conservative Reaction 65
Ch. 5 Preparing for Battle: Planning for Distribution 91
Ch. 6 The Suppression of Salt of the Earth: Inter-Union Conflict and External Pressures 113
Ch. 7 Another Chance: Overseas Markets and Domestic Limitations 149
Ch. 8 Legacies: The Consequences of Suppression 171
Epilogue: An Afterthought: What Kind of Film Was This? 195
App. 1 Howard Hughes Letter, March 18, 1953 205
App. 2 Members of the Motion Picture Industry Council 209
Abbreviations 211
Notes 213
Bibliography 255
Index 273
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