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A look back at the Hollywood blacklist

On March 5, 1946, at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared the onset of the Cold War with an image that crystallized American fears of Soviet expansionism abroad and Communist subversion at home. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent,” intoned Churchill. 

In October 1947, the nation’s fear of Communism spread to the film industry, as the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) held a series of hearings intended to probe subversive communism in Hollywood. The hearings resulted in contempt of Congress charges against the “Hollywood 10,” a group of filmmakers, mostly screenwriters, who refused to cooperate with the committee and were ultimately jailed and banned from working for all of the major studios.

The Hollywood 10 were just the beginning. The hearings ushered in the film industry’s blacklist era and scores more were banned from work due to their political ideologies in coming years.

Read BrandeisNOW's Q&A with Professor Doherty here

Categories: Faculty
Date: July 24, 2018