BY ANDREW MOODY
The general consensus in 2020 is that the HUAC hearings into Communist subversion that began in 1947 and saw many unfriendly witnesses (most famously what were known as ‘The Hollywood Ten’) blacklisted from the Hollywood industry were unconstitutional and fascist. Ed Harris and other notable liberals refused to applaud director and friendly witness Elia Kazan when he received his honorary Academy Award and there were many audience members who booed.
Oliver Stone, the socialist rewriter of American history who has made some of the most untrue films in history, including JFK and Snowden, co-wrote The Untold History of the United States which attempted to paint the Hollywood Ten as prominent filmmakers, constitutional heroes and suggested that the movie industry suffered badly losing their talents.
Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley, an American scholar, first published his academic investigation Hollywood Party into the realities of the blacklist in the late 90s but spent nearly twenty years redrafting it to respond to Stone, a huge bestselling celebrity, to really nail home the point that the Hollywood Communist Blacklist had little to do with black and white or good and evil, Gary Cooper throwing down his tin star in High Noon in disgust, but was far more a tale in hues of grey.
It began in the 1920s with Sergei Eisenstein and his explosive classic Battleship Potemkin which Communist actor Yves Montand said inspired him to the cause far more than the dull and turgid Das Kapital. Joseph Goebbels said the movie should be the template for Nazi cinema. During the depression, destitute New Yorkers paid the equivalent of millions to watch King Kong in 1933 (Hitler’s favourite film) and Stalin (who, as a former bank robber loved American gangster pictures) told an adviser that he could easily convert the world to communism if he controlled the American film industry. Lenin himself stated “of all the arts, cinema is the most important.”
The motive to infiltrate Hollywood from the Comintern was obvious, and numerous fronts were set up to block non communist movies and insert communist propaganda into American product. It has been officially established that not a single order from the comintern was disobeyed meaning American citizens working in Hollywood were taking direct orders from Russia. The comintern was established in 1919 as Communist International which controlled all of the communist parties in the world, including the American party, from Moscow.
Front groups like the League of American Writers, which had developed from the Moscow-led Union of Revolutionary Writers, or the New Theatre League (and its front magazine New Theatre) was where friendly witness Elia Kazan taught and first had his spiritual turn to the extreme left. But the Communists also had a hardline agenda, and blacklists of their own.
In Hollywood proper, the Party’s inside machinery also proved valuable in blacklisting non communists, even left wingers not deemed helpful. Party writers would circulate that certain actors like Adolphe Menjou were sympathetic to Hitler, an effective smear to Jewish producers.
Later Kazan said he was happy to testify, and would gladly do it again, especially when the truth of the Soviet purges hit America. Blacklisted (but influential party member) Paul Jarrico was a screenwriter who slipped in Red propaganda into a number of weak films that had little effect, but did hire Dalton Trumbo, one of the ten, during the Nazi-Soviet pact.
By 1956 Paul Jarrico explained: “even the slowest of us realised that the accusations against Stalin and Stalinism had been true- and that we had been defending indefensible things.”…
The Hollywood Party had denied or defended the Moscow trials, the Ukraine famine, the Nazi Soviet Pact, the invasion of Poland, the invasion of Finland, the surrender of German Jewish Communists to the Gestapo in 1940, the execution of Jewish anti fascists as “spies for Hitler” the Katyn forest massacre of Polish officers, the Czech coup, the Berlin blockade, the crushing of the Hungarian revolution and much more.
The Hollywood Ten were just a number of Stalinist spies who lived in the highest Hollywood luxury. Churchill once wrote that “Communism was the child of fascism” and by their kidney shaped swimming pools writing their primarily shoddy propaganda, it is hard to have much sympathy for hypocrites such as these.
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