On this day in 1947, a group of writers, producers and directors--Alvah Besse, Herbert Biberman Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner, Jr., John H. Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo--who later became known collectively as the 'Hollywood Ten', were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about the extent of Communist influences in the movie industry. The main reason they didn't answer HUAC's questions is that the were Communists and their truthful answers would have gotten them in some trouble, although less trouble than the year in prison and subsequent blacklisting most received. Several worked again in the film industry, notably Ring Lardner, Jr. who wrote the screenplay for MASH and Dalton Trumbo who wrote the screenplay for Spartacus, among others, but several had their careers ended by the HUAC investigation. It wasn't a crime to be a member of the Communist Party, some people just wanted to know. These guys didn't want us to know.
Labels: Hollywood Ten