The upcoming film on the Cold War-era destruction of America’s creative community thanks to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt for “communists,” real or paranoiacally imagined, brings out the ranter in me. First the trailer, then my comments:
Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) was a stain on the American soul, which was already grimy from We the People allowing him to spread his disease without pushback. The careers and lives of so many top-flight writers, actors, directors, and other creatives were destroyed by the congressional-led fascists who put them on a Blacklist that banned them from working in Hollywood. Weaklings like Director Elie Kazan (“On the Waterfront”), who cooperated with McCarthy to sell out his fellow Americans for 30 pieces of professional silver, should be forevermore shunned. This new movie, out in October, is a perfect warning: We must fight any modern reincarnation of McCarthy and his ilk (looking at you, 2015 presidential candidates) with every fiber of our beings.
This movie spotlights Dalton Trumbo (“Johnny Got His Gun,” “Spartacus,” “Exodus”), whose brilliant screenwriting career would have been destroyed by the blacklist but for friends who risked their own careers and lives by hiring him to write under aliases and pseudonyms. (Kirk Douglas secretly hired him to write “Exodus,” for instance.)
This movie looks like a well-deserved attack on McCarthyism, and exceptionally well-casted to boot with “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo. (And John Goodman and Helen Mirren as just some of the helping friends!) I’m smellin’ the Oscar bacon frying based just on this trailer and the star wattage of the cast.
Why this movie is so worth your watching? Simple: Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. The 1950s were long ago, and a new generation needs the reminder that McCarthyism, like the Undead, is never gone, just submerged.