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Dmytryk, Rossellini and Christ in Concrete

Focusing our understanding of Hollywood and HUAC on questions of presence and content is to apply paradigms of authorship and genre which were critical by-products of the cultural transformation to which HUAC contributed, and will as a result have limited critical purchase on its causes. What might break this critical impasse would be the discovery of something outside the circle; something not easily, or at least not yet, assimilated into its cycle of repetitions. Such a remainder can be found in a film which is arguably one of the most important productions of the period: Edward Dmytryk‘s ‘lost’ film of Italian/American author Pietro di Donatos novel Christ in Concrete (1949).

Film Studies
Frank Sinatra, Postwar Liberalism and Press Paranoia

Anti-Communist hysteria had a wide-ranging impact on Hollywood across the postwar period. As writers, directors and stars came under the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) due to the content of their films and their political activities, careers were interrupted indefinitely and Hollywood‘s ability to promote cultural change in the new era following World War II was severely hampered. Frank Sinatra‘s heavy involvement in liberal politics during this period illustrates the problems confronting the American film industry as it attempted to address the country‘s imperfections.

Film Studies
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Joseph Losey and the crisis of historical rupture

Barzman – was dogged with political machinations from the start. 17 Scott was the first casualty, forced to resign from RKO in November 1947 after receiving his subpoena from the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC). Schary replaced him with Stephen Ames, but the change proved to be more than ideological: it affected the entire aesthetic of the film. According to Losey, Scott ‘wanted at that time to have a more mobile

in Joseph Losey

renegades’ personalities and psychology that might explain the willingness to walk away – often with apparent ease – from one’s radical past. Recall the words of the French former radical Régis Debray (cited earlier), who pondered how it is that a person can ‘get up one fine morning and renounce everything that has driven us until that moment’. HUAC informant Phillip Luce presented his leaving communism in 1965 as a momentous and heartrending decision: ‘[T]he struggle to see through my folly has been a great personal struggle … The act of breaking with Communism was the

in The politics of betrayal

many of the writing credits were pseudonyms for American writers blacklisted following two sets of investigations into the US film industry by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 and 1951. HUAC was a product 20   Swashbucklers: The costume adventure series of the paranoid climate of the early Cold War when right-wingers were prone to detect ‘Reds’ lurking under every other bed. The US film industry instituted an informal blacklist of those who refused to co-operate with HUAC and those who were suspected of being Communist Party members or fellow

in Swashbucklers
Mankiewicz (1953)

1948 MGM hired Dore Schary, a writer/producer to replace the box-office genius Irving Thalberg. Schary soon clashed with Mayer over the substance of the films they would produce, Mayer preferring safer fare than the gritty ‘message pictures’ which Schary had developed while working at rival studio RKO Pictures. RKO had come under the scrutiny of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), and

in Julius Caesar
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The Sleeping Tiger (1954), A Man on the Beach (1955) and The Intimate Stranger (1956)

scandal, the other for politics, creating a metonymic relationship between women and ideological commitment as seductive objects of displaced paranoid desire. Both men are continually haunted by the past, leading to black mail (Reggie) and black list (Losey). Each falls victim to the machinations of an impotent informer, whether in the form of Ernest Chapel or HUAC’s endless parade of broken stooges. Moreover, it is also

in Joseph Losey

she encountered severe opposition to this idea, which propelled her into the political limelight. In 1952 Bernard was at the pinnacle of her influence as a prominent New York psychiatrist, supporter of civil and liberal causes and a leading philanthropist. Also in 1952 she testified before the House Un-­American Activities Committee (HUAC). Formed in 1938 to monitor German National Socialist activity, this committee of the US House of Representatives became best known for the interrogation of alleged communists. Promoted by Cold War warrior Joseph McCarthy, HUAC

in A history of the case study

-year period of blacklisting, he had a famously heated exchange with members of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), when he refused to answer whether or not he was a communist. Playing against Robeson in 1959 was the Iago of Sam Wanamaker, another blacklisted American who, like Robeson, was the target of FBI and MI5 surveillance, but who had decided in the early 1950s to pursue a career in

in Coriolanus

-166 PoliticsBetrayal Part 3.indd 158 05/02/2013 14:09 For thirty pieces of silver? 159 radical Rubin implied that monetary motivations were at work in the treachery of the early 1960s radical Phillip Luce, who had helped organise illegal trips to Cuba before becoming a lead government witness at the HUAC and counter-insurgency lecturer (Rubin, 1970: 63–4). Fellow Chicago Eight defendant Rennie Davis also went on to become a highly successful businessman, which saw him accumulate at one point an eighty-acre estate with ten homes, electronic gates, and a private helicopter

in The politics of betrayal