Saturday, September 13, 2014

Maxspeak of the devil!

Last we saw of Max Sawicky he was hi-tailin' it away from his belief that Governor Mitch Daniels had given the people of Indiana a raw deal by leasing their toll road out from under them, on his way to a position giving his sage advice to Barack Obama. We're happy to see he's been let out on parole...

[Update: Max speaksI have never worked for the Obama Administration, or any administration.]

...and is at the movies;
Proof I’m getting old — I watched a Turner Classic Movie, and it was great: Murder, My Sweet, from the Raymond Chandler novel Farewell, My Lovely. (Not to be confused with the 1975 remake starring Robert Mitchum.) This one stars Dick Powell and people I’d never heard of, with the exception of Mike Mazurki. It came out in 1944.
Well, we always liked this one too, but Max passes over too quickly, its history;
The director was Edward Dmytryk. He had done some anti-fascist movies in the Forties. He later ran afoul of the red scare, did time, got blacklisted, eventually appeared before HUAC, and named names. He got back to working in the U.S. afterwards; the most memorable later effort was The Caine Mutiny.
I could detect no political memes in this film. [our bold]
That's because Dmytryk was a professional who went to great trouble to scrub the propaganda  his Communist friends put into the movie scripts he had to shoot. Such as what John Wexley produced for 1945's Cornered starring Dick Powell;
At every turn he inserted long speeches loaded with Communist propaganda thinly disguised as antifascist rhetoric--manifestoes by the dozen, but little real drama. Major surgery was in ordered. Wexley was allowed to finish the script, politely thanked, and dismissed.
And that dismissal of a Communist writer, for incompetence, landed Dmytryk in a whole heap of trouble with the man he refers to (with some accuracy) as the Gauleiter of Hollywood Communists, John Howard Lawson. He tells the story of his brief Communist fling--he joined the Party because it looked to be a wise career move in the Forties. I.e., Communists had real power in Hollywood back then, they could blacklist you from working!--in two books. It's a Hell of a Life But Not a Bad Living (1978) and Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten (1996).

Dmytryk was himself dismissed, from the CP, for failing to submit to Party discipline, by Lawson. But that wasn't the end of his troubles with the CPUSA. We'll get to that shortly.

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