The projector spins tales at 30 frames per second. Single images whirling by so quickly that the eye is fooled into perceiving motion. With each flicker, our memories are replaced with fantasies. Take for example, the 1991 movie, "Guilty By Suspicion", starring Robert De Niro:
Fun Fact: The script for "Guilty by Suspicion" was written by a blacklisted Hollywood writer, Abraham Polonsky. A Marxist until his death, Polonsky publicly objected when director Irwin Winkler rewrote his script for 1991's Guilty by Suspicion, a film about the Hollywood blacklist era, by revising the lead character (Robert De Niro) into a liberal, rather than a Communist
Four and a Half Stars
It should come as no surprise that this bit of leftist revisionism sent chills jolting down Roger Ebert's Roger Ebert's leg. Question to Roger: Does this bit of tripe really warrant four and a half stars? The below review from Amazon by an amateur provides a more accurate picture:
Winkler In Way Over His Head, March 30, 2005
By John P Bernat
"You have a sense of some noble purpose to Irwin Winkler's creation of this movie. But it's a mess.
The screenplay is the worst sort of hackneyed melodrama. The man who gave us "Airport" decides to handle the McCarthy disaster. To be effective as a disaster movie, the audience has to be brought to care about the protagonists.
You have Robert DeNiro, the most amazing and hard-working actor of the last thirty years. You have other supporting players who are competent, dedicated and almost glad to be here.
Even excellent acting cannot get the audience sympathetic for self-absorbed, narcissistic and uninvolved postwar moviemakers and stars. When a female character commits suicide, you are supposed to identify with her and feel a sense of tragedy. Instead, you feel something like relief that you don't have to listen to her any more.
Liberal or conservative? Republican or Democrat? Hell, it really doesn't matter. You're almost more glad that the movie's over than glad that the McCarthy era ended fifty-plus years ago. "
Let us take the time to critique Ebert's review:
1) Ebert: "But for the people who were caught in the Hollywood witch-hunt, beginning in the late 1940s, the decision meant, in many cases, betraying your ideals, or losing your job."
JohnQuincy: A Witch Hunt implies that one is chasing phantoms not communists loyal to a foreign tyrant, Stalin, who were dedicated to the overthrow of the United States. Their ideals, the imposition of a totalitarian form of government, were worth betraying.
2) Ebert: "Most of those who testified before HUAC admitted their own political activities (for that matter, membership in any political party was perfectly legal, then as now, protected by the Bill of Rights)."
JohnQuincy: This entire statement is misleading. Yes, most of those who testified before HUAC freely admitted their own political activities because most of the witnesses were friendly witnesses. Ebert is not drawing a distinction between the friendly witnesses and unfriendly witnesses.
Further, while the Bill of Right does offer certain protections, nothing the HUAC did violated those protections. The committee was charged with investigating subversion and propaganda attacking the form of government guaranteed in our constitution. They had the authority to ask the questions and this authority was supported by the courts.
Bill of Rights
Not a Suicide Pact
To believe that the Communist Party qualifies for protection under the bill of rights is to conveniently ignore certain facts:
The Communist Party via its own literature and by its own sordid history in other countries has shown been shown itself to be in favor of violent revolution and imposition of totalitarian rule.
The below Summary of Legal Cases Against the Communist Party reviews some cases that the party has lost on this basis.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the brief opening up of Soviet archives, it has been well documented that the American Communist Party was acting as a paid agent of the Soviet Union. Since 1938, agents of foreign governments have been required to register with the United States government under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. This act has been around for over half a century.
On a side note, Johnny Chung found out just how illegal it was to act as a foreign agent when he funneled Chinese intelligence money to the Clinton campaign over a decade ago:
Not a Suicide Pact
Jefferson, as a founding father, knows a little about the constitution. Here is what he has to say on the subject:
"[a] strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means." -Jefferson
Compare and contrast this quote with the current Marxist subversion manual, Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals:
"The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means...." p.29
Tactic 4. "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules."
HUAC's Surprising Origins
The HUAC Committee that investigated Hollywood was a direct descendent of Special Committee on Un-American Activities (1934-1937), which was chaired by Samuel Dickstein. With the brief opening up of Soviet intelligence records after the fall of the Soviet Union, it was revealed that Congressman Dickstein was a Soviet agent.
This explains why Dickstein used the committee to target enemies of the Soviet Union. As the below excerpt from Right-wing populism in America: too close for comfort By Chip Berlet, Matthew Nemiroff Lyons shows:
It seems that the HUAC's methods were fine with the American Communist Party and their liberal allies when they were used on Stalin's enemies.
Fun Fact: Congress has not changed a whole lot since the 1930s. KGB agents assigned Dickstein the code name Crook and in their reports described him as “an unscrupulous type, greedy for money.” - Quote from The haunted wood: Soviet espionage in America--the Stalin era By Allen Weinstein, Alexander Vassiliev
JohnQuincy Reality Check: As foreign agents dedicated to subverting the constitutionally authorized form of government in the United States both the fascists and the communists should and did have the HUAC turned on them. The courts did not find the HUAC's actions to be unconstitutional in either case.
Below is part of Ayn Rand's HUAC testimony regarding Song of Russia, which was one of the more blatant propaganda pieces:
Rand: I ask you: what relation could a lie about Russia have with the war effort? I would like to have somebody explain that to me, because I really don't understand it, why a lie would help anybody or why it would keep Russia in or out of the war. How?
Wood: You don't think it would have been of benefit to the American people to have kept them in?
Rand: I don't believe the American people should ever be told any lies, publicly or privately. I don't believe that lies are practical. I think the international situation now rather supports me. I don't think it was necessary to deceive the American people about the nature of Russia. I could add this: if those who saw it say it was quite all right, and perhaps there are reasons why it was all right to be an ally of Russia, then why weren't the American people told the real reasons and told that Russia is a dictatorship but there are reasons why we should cooperate with them to destroy Hitler and other dictators? All right, there may be some argument to that. Let us hear it. But of what help can it be to the war effort to tell people that we should associate with Russia and that she is not a dictatorship?
Wood: Let me see if I understand your position. I understand, from what you say, that because they were a dictatorship we shouldn't have accepted their help in undertaking to win a war against another dictatorship.
Rand: That is not what I said. I was not in a position to make that decision. If I were, I would tell you what I would do. That is not what we are discussing. We are discussing the fact that our country was an ally of Russia, and the question is: what should we tell the American people about it -- the truth or a lie? If we had good reason, if that is what you believe, all right, then why not tell the truth? Say it is a dictatorship, but we want to be associated with it. Say it is worthwhile being associated with the devil, as Churchill said, in order to defeat another evil which is Hitler. There might be some good argument made for that. But why pretend that Russia was not what it was?
Wood: Well --
Rand: What do you achieve by that?
MPA Screen Guide for Americans
Alarmed at the growing presence of Communist propaganda in the movies she wrote the below guide: Ayn Rand's MPA Screen Guide for Americans Chillingly, her words are more applicable today than when she wrote them more than half a century ago and should be a must read for everyone. Below is a summary of her guide:
1. Don't Take Politics Lightly.
2. Don't Smear the Free Enterprise System.
3. Don't Smear Industrialists.
4. Don't Smear Wealth.
5. Don't Smear the Profit Motive.
6. Don't Smear Wealth.
7. Don't Glorify Failure.
8. Don't Glorify Depravity.
9. Don't Deify "The Common Man."
10. Don't Glorify the Collective.
11. Don't Smear the Independent Man.
12. Don't Use Current Events Casually.
13. Don't Smear American Political Institutions.
Mission to Moscow
Soviet Propaganda for Americans
Another of these movies was "Mission to Moscow," based on a book written by Jospeph E. Davies, who was ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1936-38:
Here is what Robert Bruckner, the film's producer has to say about Mission to Moscow in the appendix to the Screen Play:
Of course Ambassador Davies was used to whitewashing over the facts. As documented in The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia By Tim Tzouliadis, he used to lull himself to sleep by telling himself that the gun shots he heard from executions were due to construction noise:
STRIPLING: Mr. Reagan, what is your feeling about what steps should be taken to rid the motion picture industry of any communist influences?
REAGAN: Well, sir, 99 percent of us are pretty well aware of what is going on, and I think, within the bounds of our democratic rights and never once stepping over the rights given us by democracy, we have done a pretty good job in our business of keeping those people's activities curtailed. After all, we must recognize them at present as a political party. On that basis we have exposed their lies when we came across them, we have opposed their propaganda, and I can certainly testify that in the case of the Screen Actors Guild we have been eminently successful in preventing them from, with their usual tactics, trying to run a majority of an organization with a well organized minority. In opposing those people, the best thing to do is make democracy work. In the Screen Actors Guild we make it work by insuring everyone a vote and by keeping everyone informed. I believe that, as Thomas Jefferson put it, if all the American people know all of the facts they will never make a mistake. Whether the party should be outlawed, that is a matter for the government to decide. As a citizen, I would hesitate to see any political party outlawed on the basis of its political ideology. However, if it is proven that an organization is an agent of foreign power, or in any way not a legitimate political party -- and I think the government is capable of proving that -- then that is another matter. I happen to be very proud of the industry in which I work; I happen to be very proud of the way in which we conducted the fight. I do not believe the communists have ever at any time been able to use the motion picture screen as a sounding board for their philosophy or ideology.
CHAIRMAN: There is one thing that you said that interested me very much. That was the quotation from Jefferson. That is why this committee was created by the House of Representatives: to acquaint the American people with the facts. Once the American people are acquainted with the facts there is no question but what the American people will do the kind of job that they want done: that is, to make America just as pure as we can possibly make it. We want to thank you very much for coming here today.
REAGAN: Sir, I detest, I abhor their philosophy, but I detest more than that their tactics, which are those of the fifth column, and are dishonest, but at the same time I never as a citizen want to see our country become urged, by either fear or resentment of this group, that we ever compromise with any of our democratic principles through that fear or resentment. I still think that democracy can do it.
The Hollywood Ten
"His career came to a halt in 1947, when he was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He refused to deny or confirm involvement in the Communist Party USA."
Fun Fact: Alvah Bessie was part of a Communist Party inquisition against director Robert Rossen. The party objected to the theme of the Rossen's film, "All The King's Men", which was that power corrupts. Rossen informed Alvah and other inquisitors that they could "stick the whole party up their asses."
"In 1947, the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities began investigating the film industry, and Biberman became one of ten Hollywood writers and directors cited for contempt of Congress when they refused to answer questions about their Communist Party USA affiliation."
Fun Fact: Unleashed from the shackles of Hollywood, Herbert Biberman was free to direct such classics as Salt of the Earth from 1954. According to Paula Kael, the famous film critic, the film was "as clear a piece of Communist propaganda as we have had in many years ...a proletarian morality play."
"Cole appeared before the HUAC on 30th October, 1947, but he refused to answer any questions."
Fun Fact: Cole once commented: " I read the Communist Manifesto of 1848...nothing seemed strange or unfamiliar to me. It was as if I had been brought up on this way of thinking since childhood."
"Summoned to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), he refused to cooperate and was sent to jail. After spending several months behind bars, Dmytryk made the decision to testify again, and give the names of his fellow members in the American Communist Party as the HUAC had demanded. On April 25, 1951, Dmytryk appeared before HUAC for the second time, answering all questions. He spoke of his own Party past, a very brief membership in 1945, including the naming of twenty-six former members of left-wing groups. He explained how John Howard Lawson, Adrian Scott, Albert Maltz and others had pressured him to include communist propaganda in his films. His testimony damaged several court cases that others of the so-called "Hollywood 10" had filed"
Please take the time to read this fascinating article regarding Dmytryk's turn from the dark side: "What Makes a Hollywood Communist?"
Fun Quotes: ""I've come to hate the liberals more than anybody. I'm a socialist, not a liberal. The people that helped me during my problems were liberal Republicans--not Democrats, not communists and not leftists." -Edward Dymtryk, Movie Maker
According to his wife, Jean, "Eddie" had indeed briefly been a member of the American Communist Party." Jean says that Dmytryk recanted before the committee because he did come to believe there was a Communist conspiracy, although the only names he confirmed for the FBI were from a list already in their possession. -Movie Maker
"Lardner appeared before the HUAC on 30th October, 1947, but , he refused to answer any questions."
Fun Fact: To recruit new members, he proposed the slogan: "The most beautiful girls in Hollywood belong to the Communist Party."
John Howard Lawson
"Lawson appeared before the HUAC on 29th October, 1947, but he refused to answer any questions."
Fun Quote: "I do not hesitate to say that it is my aim to present the Communist position and do so in the most specific manner."
Fun Fact: During the 30s and 40s, John Howard Lawson conducted "Art as a Weapon Classes" that instructed members on how to insert bits of Marxist propaganda and the party line in films.
"Prison photograph of screenwriter Albert Maltz who, as one of the "Hollywood Ten", was jailed for his failure to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about Communist Party associations."
Fun Fact: Albert Maltz briefly converted from the dark side via a February 12, 1946 article in the New Masses entitled: "What Shall We Ask of Writers." He later recanted his damning account of the impact of Communist ideology on art after an extended party inquisition.
Below is an excellent summary of his article:
Summary of "WHAT SHALL WE ASK OF WRITERS?" in the Communist Review of October 1946.
Here is a more recent article on the subject of Albert Maltz entitled, Art as a Weapon.
"Ornitz appeared before the HUAC on 29th October, 1947, he refused to answer any questions."
Fun Fact: Sam Ornitz, stated to the HUAC committee: “I wish to address this committee as a Jew." Curiously, he was one of the main apologists for Stalin's persecution of the Jews to the point of denying any persecution existed.
Some think Stalin may have killed more Jews than Hitler. His victim list is argued to number from 20 - 60 million:
"In October 1947, Scott was called to testify during the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings on Hollywood but - as did nine others - refused to testify and was sentenced to jail. Edward Dmytryk, another of these Hollywood Ten, later, in 1951 testified before the HUAC that Scott pressured him to put communist propaganda in his films."
Fun Fact: While he was all for protecting his constitutional rights, Scott had nothing against trying to deny them to others. Eward Dmytryk recalled being scolded by Scott for reading Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon and being told that party members were not allowed to read it.
Darkness at Noon By Arthur Koestler
"Originally published in 1941, Arthur Koestler's modern masterpiece, Darkness At Noon, is a powerful and haunting portrait of a Communist revolutionary caught in the vicious fray of the Moscow show trials of the late 1930s.
During Stalin's purges, Nicholas Rubashov, an aging revolutionary, is imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the party he has devoted his life to. Under mounting pressure to confess to crimes he did not commit, Rubashov relives a career that embodies the ironies and betrayals of a revolutionary dictatorship that believes it is an instrument of liberation.
A seminal work of twentieth-century literature, Darkness At Noon is a penetrating exploration of the moral danger inherent in a system that is willing to enforce its beliefs by any means necessary."
"In 1947, Trumbo, along with nine other writers and directors, was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee as an unfriendly witness to testify on the presence of Communist influence in Hollywood. Trumbo refused to give information."
Fun Fact: While he was the highest paid writer in history, earning $4,000 a week during the 30's, Trumbo liked to refer to himself as a proletariat:
Fun Quote: "The important thing about a lie is not that it be interesting, fanciful, graceful, or even pleasant, but that it be believed."
Like today, it took many of these Hollywood stars a much longer time than the general public to realize that they had been duped:
"To much of the public, however, it seemed plain that the Ten were merely being evasive, and probably because they were Communists, followers of a political line set by Stalin, a fact they were trying to hide by “exposing” the hearings as tainted by anti-Semitism. The strategy was a PR disaster, and in time most liberal support for the Hollywood Ten dissipated."
To counter what they claimed were reckless attacks by HUAC, a group of Hollywood liberals led by actor Humphrey Bogart, his wife Lauren Bacall, John Huston, William Wyler, Gene Kelly and others, established the “Committee for the First Amendment” (CFA). The CFA traveled to Washington to lend its support as the eleven unfriendly witnesses’ began their testimony. However, as the eleven began to respond to their inquisitors with as much disdain, and often with histrionics far more brusque than their accusers, the embarrassed First Amendmenters began to unravel. Director Edward Dmytryk one of the Ten, said later, “I was so happy with the support of the CFA and others, but when (screenwriter) John Howard Lawson began haranguing the committee members, I died. We lost it right then and there!” Humphrey Bogart wrote a piece for the March 1948 issue of Photoplay magazine entitled “I’m No Communist”, in which he admitted being “duped”. His trip to Washington, he said, had been “ill—advised”. John Garfield wrote a similar article called ”I’m a Sucker for a Left Hook. Edward G. Robinson lamented “the Reds made a sucker out of me”.
Their purpose was not to create art but to insert the party line in their scripts and censor out messages opposed to the party. Often this meant working around the edges and getting little bits inserted or, even worse, not explore certain subjects. For example, they were instructed not to explore any psychological angles in their films but to portray society as the source of all evils
Even more insidious, were their own efforts at blacklisting and censorship of authors. They often used their roles to get certain scripts rejected and keep certain writers from getting hired often by spreading rumors that they were anti-semitic.
Inside out: a memoir of the blacklist By Walter Bernstein published in 2000 was the first public admission by one of these writers of these tactics:
The most damning statement regarding the impact of Communism on artists was made by this thinly filmed reference from On the Waterfront by Elia Kazan:
This post was inspired by the 1998 book, Hollywood Party, authored by Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley.
Attached is a link to an article that he wrote on Hollywood's Missing Movies in Reason.
A recent book, "Hollywood Party," is an effective antidote to the prevailing Leftist version of what happened 50 years ago. Author Kenneth Billingsley details the Communist-Hollywood connection.
Lenin himself recognized the power of cinema, saying "Communists must always consider that of all the arts the motion picture is the most important." His successor Stalin viewed film as "not only a vital agitprop device for the education and political indoctrination of the workers, but also a fluent channel through which to reach the minds and shape the desires of people everywhere."
Red influence in Hollywood was pervasive. One former Communist screenwriter noted that there were a number of "awful writers" who managed to get jobs only because they belonged to the party.
Of course, not everyone joined the party or one of its many fronts purely for philosophical reasons. One actor told a potential recruit that "you will make out more with the dames" if he'd sign up. So he did.
Throughout the 30s many in Hollywood, encouraged by comrades, agitated for America to assume an active role in crushing Nazism. Rallies, ad campaigns and fundraisers were held. America had a moral obligation to get involved.