In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood's top screenwriter until he was blacklisted for his political beliefs. Trumbo recounts how Dalton used words and wit to expose the injustice under the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper to John Wayne and Kirk Douglas.
Workmanlike movie about the screenwriter blacklist and McCarthyism.
- Trumbo review by PV
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You rated this film: 4
This is a very workmanlike movie - all well written and directed and acted - but somehow a bit cold an efficient.
Anyway, the story is fascinating. It's about how the 'UnAmerican Activities Committee' of the late 40s and 50s (though it didn't end till 1975 officially) conducted a witch hunt against those whose views and thoughts and political opinions were of the left and particularly the Communist party.
Now, many were sympathetic to the Communists before, during and just after the war, as Russia and the butcher Stalin were our Allies. However, most saw how vile Stalin and Russian Communism were in the 50s, especially when the Soviets sent tanks into Hungary in 1956.
These days, we also have our witch hunts so no-one watching this film and shaking their heads should feel smug. We have witch hunts now - anyone who refuses to abide by the often absurd ideology of political correctness and diversity worship can find themselves the victim of a witch hunt. A TV producer saying Midsomer Murders is popular because it is not set in the modern inner city full of ethnic minorities finds himself the victim and loses him job. Harvard professor who suggests boys and girls may be innately different in their brain and behaviour and aptitudes loses his job after mobbing by witch hunting feminists. Anyone suggesting that 'affirmative action' or the UK version 'positive action' is racist, sexist and wrong is likely to lose their job. Anyone saying that we do NOT need the Oscars rigged to ensure more blacks win Oscars is sure to be blacklisted by Hollywood these days if they are an actor or a director.
Nothing has changed! We still have victims of witch hunts now. And any screenwriter now who dares write about certain topics will NOT get their screenplay made.
btw this movie makes it seem easy to be a screenwriter. Well, people say if you pack your bags and go to Hollywood it'll take you 15 years to get a script made on average. In the whole USA no more than 12000 people made alive writing for TV and film and that is 2000 in the UK.
But, despite the way this is a very worthy and smug film, it's also interesting - and the introduction of Kirk Douglas and Spartacus is great (though several people wrote that screenplay and several directors worked on that movie).
I had never heard of this movie until I saw it on the Cinema Paradiso website, but I am very glad I discovered it. Rip-roaring yarn it ain't, nor is it a classy thriller, riveting romance or whatever, but it is a very interesting bio-pic, well told and always compelling. The background will be familiar if you have seen films like "Good Night, and Good Luck", but I doubt the titular character Dalton Trumbo will be, and I simply enjoyed seeing his story played out in familiar David and Goliath fashion. The period detail is great, both the stars like Helen Mirren and the many unknowns in leading roles give excellent performances, and the whole thing adds up to a very pleasant 2 hours viewing. Thank you, Cinema Paradiso, for alerting me to its existence.