Some people in the 21st century think “Hollywood blacklist” refers to hot-but-unproduced screenplays. Others have vague notions that the “Unfriendly 10” screenwriters were denied work because they were Communists.
Many misperceptions or forgotten facts are clarified in Bleecker Street’s film “Trumbo,” which screens Saturday at the Toronto Film Festival and opens nationwide Nov. 6. Adding to those details are five other points worth remembering.
1. It didn’t start in the 1940s.
The House Committee on Un-American Activities (later known as Huac), was formed in 1938 under Martin Dies Jr., who said Hollywood was filled with Communists. Two years later, the mainstream press printed 42 names under investigation, including Humphrey Bogart
, James Cagney
and Katharine Hepburn
. On Feb. 16, 1940, Daily Variety editor Al Unger mocked the senator, saying Dies was just seeking publicity and had no facts, just suspicions. In a short time, Dies concluded that he had met with the 42 and they were fine,