Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cue the wailing and gnashing

It's yet another opportunity for self-congratulation for Hollywood, as the 65th anniversary of the first congressional hearings on the Communist penetration of Hollywood by agents of Joseph Stalin nears.

All the usual suspects are rounded up by The Hollywood Reporter for our admiration; Dalton Trumbo, Howard Koch, Walter Bernstein, John Howard Lawson....

Also as usual, the fact that these people were almost all Communists (or sympathetic) who were in fact busy inserting pro-Stalin propaganda into movie scripts, to advance the interests of the Soviet Union, is glossed over.

Nor is the name of the Red Millionaire, Willi Muenzenberg, nor his agent Otto Katz mentioned.  I.e. the brains behind the scheme to subtly propagandize the American movie going public into overlooking Stalin's depredations.

Just the ever present indignation of the movie elite at the fact that some people fought back.  In this case the founder of The Hollywood Reporter, William Wilkerson whose son is now apologizing for his father's efforts to expose some exceptionally nasty people (who themselves had their own blacklist of non-Communist script writers they kept from working).

The aforementioned Lawson being the most notoriously vicious of those Communists.  And it shows in his memoir Film in the Battle of Ideas from 1953, in which he writes (during the Korean War!);
The Soviet Union emerged from the war [WWII] steeled and strengthened in the anti-fascist struggle, dedicating its vast resources to peaceful reconstruction and the cultural enrichment of its people. In China and the Eastern Democracies of Europe, people's governments undertook the task of building free societies, free from private exploitation, devoted to rational progress and human rights.
Of course they had to surround those people with barbed wire, land mines, machine gun towers and guard dogs to keep them in those 'free societies'.  Can't imagine anyone objecting to a guy like John Howard Lawson having a free hand to create movie scripts.

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