Opening 10 Mar 2016
Writing credits: John McNamara, Bruce Cook
Principal actors: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Maldonado
During the Cold War, the US congress wasn’t content without a ‘real’ war to fight overseas. So, they brought the fight against communism to Hollywood. The myth that motion pictures were spreading the red menace across the USA was ridiculous, but somehow it took hold of sections of the American public and politicians. For years fires of paranoia were continually stoked by gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) as well as many other high profile Americans. The so-called ‘blacklisting’ of film industry professionals, such as screenwriters, actors, producers and directors, resulted in many top Hollywood personalities banned from work for their political beliefs. Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) was one of the screenwriter persecuted for his political leanings. Although a top screenwriter, he was unable to find work after his affiliation with the communist party was reported. Ultimately, the ‘blacklist’ did not stop Trumbo from working but rather provided an enterprising man new ways to deliver his passion for the silver screen.
A sometimes fun and very witty film about a serious subject: the over reach of government powers. A cautionary tale, that continues to resonate today. (Christine Riney)