Dalton Trumbo: Blast from the Past

A documentary, Trumbo (2007),  on HUAC-blacklisted screenwiter, Dalton Trumbo, who penned the noirs, The Prowler (1951) and The Brothers Rico (1957), opens in NY and LA on June 27. Scripted by Trumbo’s son, and based on letters from his father, this movie is said to be a highly emotive account of the years Trumbo spent in exile:

A number of celebrities take turns narrating from the script, including [Nathan] Lane, Paul Giamatti, Brian Dennehy, Donald Sutherland and others. As a visual accompaniment, the film intercuts home movie footage from the Trumbos’ lives, incisive interview material with Trumbo, his family, friends and collaborators; and haunting glimpses of the HUAC trial hearings with the Hollywood Ten, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; as well as extracts from The Sandpiper, Johnny Got His Gun, Spartacus and other productions authored by Trumbo. Peter Askin, who helmed the stage play, directs.

– Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide

Update 27 June 2008: In today’s NY Times Stephen Holder reviews Trumbo in an interesting article that looks basck at the dark days of the HUAC in the early 50’s:

Trumbo emerges as a fervently resolute, highly literate man of principle who, along with the other members of the Hollywood Ten, cited the First Amendment, protecting free speech, and not the Fifth, protecting self-incrimination, as his defense…If only the movers and shakers of Hollywood…  had stood together like the slaves in “Spartacus” and all claimed to have been Communists, the blacklist might have been averted. But they didn’t. Fear can make people instant cowards and informers. Resisting it may be the ultimate test of character. Today few would dispute Trumbo’s assessment of that very dark period: “The blacklist was a time of evil, and no one who survived it on either side came through untouched by evil.”

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