Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In October of 1947, they appeared before, and refused to cooperate with, the House Un-American Activities Committee which was investigating Communist influence in the Hollywood labor unions. As a result, the United States House of Representatives voted 346 to 17 on that November 24 to approve citations of contempt. They were convicted in 1948.
Specifically, they were cited for contempt for their efforts to disrupt the committee's proceedings by making political statements while refusing to answer questions put to them by the committee concerning their Communist affiliations and activities. Among the questions they refused to answer was, "Are you a member of the Screen Writers Guild?" Their unsuccessful defense was based on First Amendment claims. Following unsuccessful appeals and denial of review by the Supreme Court, they served 6-month (in two cases) or 1-year prison terms in 1950.
On November 25, 1947 (the day after the full House approved citations of contempt) they were "blacklisted" by the major Hollywood producers, who declared publicly that the ten would be fired or suspended and not rehired until they were acquitted or purged of contempt and had sworn that they were not Communists. Because of their notoriety, they were unable to obtain work in the American film and television industry for many years. However, many continued to write Hollywood films, using sometimes thinly-veiled pseudonyms (and much reduced pay) or the names of friends who posed as the actual writers (those who allowed their names to be used were called "fronts".) Much later, when anti-Communism became less fashionable, they were sometimes portrayed as heroes for their defiance of the committee.
The "Hollywood Ten" were:
- Alvah Bessie
- Herbert Biberman
- Lester Cole
- Edward Dmytryk
- Ring Lardner, Jr
- John Howard Lawson
- Albert Maltz
- Samuel Ornitz
- Adrian Scott
- Dalton Trumbo
Following his blacklisting, Trumbo was able to continue work under an alias writing, among other movies, Spartacus. Edward Dmytryk later agreed to testify and resumed his career as a director.
In later life many of the "Hollywood Ten" continued to defend their right to political association and to oppose red-baiting.
Note: While the Hollywood Ten were the most high-profile screenwriters and directors blacklisted, many others, such as Michael Wilson and Paul Jarrico , found themselves unable to work in their fields during the time of the red scare.
James J. Lorence. The Suppression of Salt of the Earth. How Hollywood, Big Labor, and Politicians Blacklisted a Movie in Cold War America. University of New Mexico Press: 1999. ISBN 0-8263-2027-9 (cloth) ISBN 0-8263-2028-7 (paper)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details