Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mickey Mouse Opera

Spain's El Pais tells of the new opera based on Walt Disney, by Phillip Glass;  Misógino, racista, fascistoide, adúltero, megalómano....

Uncle Walt?  Que pasa?

Oh, it's every Hollywoodian's favorite myth; The Blacklist.  Disney truthfully documented to HUAC some Communists he'd employed (and who'd launched a destructive strike against his struggling animation studio in 1941).

Funny thing though, one of the most notorious of those Communists, Maurice Rapf (son of MGM co-founder Harry Rapf) worked as a writer for Disney (Song of the South, Cinderella), and enjoyed the experience.  Even though Disney knew (as did everyone in the movie industry) that Rapf was a 'radical'.

According to Rapf, in an interview in Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist, he liked his time at Disney better than anywhere else.  Even defending Walt from charges of anti-semitism (Rapf was Jewish).

Someone ought to do an opera (or even an honest movie) about the lives the Hollywood Communists ruined with their blacklists.  Maybe, how John Howard Lawson eventually drove the novelist Budd Schulberg (a childhood friend of Rapf's in Beverly Hills) to leave the Communist Party because of the ideological criticism of his best-seller, What Makes Sammy Run.

Or the snubs Elia Kazan suffered after his break with The Party.  Or how the previously mentioned Lawson forced Alfred Maltz to disavow his article, What Shall We Ask of Writers, in New Masses in 1946.  But, that would take some real artistic courage.

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