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Guilty by Suspicion (1991)

PG-13 | | Drama | 15 March 1991 (USA)
David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bunny Baxter
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Dorothy Nolan
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Felix Graff
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Paulie Merrill
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Larry Nolan
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Bert Alan
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Chairman Wood
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Congressman Tavenner
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Congressman Velde
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Ray Karlin
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Felicia Barron (as Roxann Biggs)
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Storyline

David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on Un-American Activities and he is unable to work until cleared. Before being called, his highest priority had been his work to the extent of leaving his wife (Annette Bening) and son (Luke Edwards) alone for months at a time. He initially refuses to implicate others or himself in a private meeting with Roy Cohn and a studio lawyer. This decision initially to stick to his principles first leaves him unable to work in his profession, even with films and producers he never would have worked with before. Harassment by the FBI leaves him unable to work on Broadway, with advertising agencies, or even in a small film repair shop. Finally, having fallen so far, and tempted with a new offer to direct a film from his old studio (if he testifies), he agrees to go before the Committee, initially planning to ... Written by Mike Harris <mharris@injersey.com>

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All it took was a whisper.

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Drama

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PG-13 | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

15 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Schuldig bei Verdacht  »

Box Office

Gross:

$9,480,198 (USA)
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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro's climactic courtroom speech is an almost verbatim lift of a speech made by lawyer Joseph N. Welch in a McCarthy hearing in the 1950s. See more »

Goofs

When the De Niro character visits Zanuck watching dailies early on in the movie, we see that the dailies on screen are Marilyn singing a number from "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds" and Zanuck tells "Howard" (Hawks) the director (on the phone) that he can't see any difference in the various takes. "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" was filmed and released in 1953, but the last scenes of "Guilty By Suspicion" are Feb 1952. See more »

Quotes

Larry Nolan: Don't make me crawl through the mud... they're my friends.
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Connections

References High Noon (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

I'M JUST A LUCKY SO AND SO
Written by Duke Ellington
Lyrics by Mack David
Performed by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington
Courtesy of Blue Note Records (Roulette)
A division of Capitol Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
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User Reviews

 
Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been........?
19 September 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It's almost impossible to write any kind of objective film about the blacklist, the wounds of it run deep in show business. Guilty By Suspicion has no pretense to objectivity, neither does that John Wayne epic Big Jim McLain which was favorable to the House Un American Activities Committee.

Those who gave testimony at HUAC did so for a variety of motives. Some like Adolphe Menjou wanted the blacklist for everyone to the left of Herbert Hoover. Some like Robert Taylor felt they were doing a patriotic service. Some under the threat of not being able to work as artists in their chosen profession named names before HUAC. A very select few said stick it in your ear.

If there any guilty parties it's not the artists whatever their political persuasion. It was the studio bosses and one of them, Darryl F. Zanuck is played here by Ben Piazza, who gave in without exception to HUAC and cooperated in the blacklist, who pitted the people of various political persuasions against each other. Sad to say that's not really demonstrated here in Guilty By Suspicion.

The members of HUAC were 95% on the political right of both parties. The Democrats were mostly southerners and the Republicans were on the right in their party. The liberals of either party had more constructive ways to spend their time in Congess.

Guilty By Suspicion tells the story of Robert DeNiro as a fictional film director who gets blacklisted because of secret hearing testimony given by Chris Cooper. His struggle to find work turns positively Kafkaesque until he agrees to go before the committee.

DeNiro strikes all the right notes in his performance and is aided and abetted by the performance of Annette Bening as his estranged wife. Acting honors however go to Patricia Wettig who plays a distraught blacklisted actress with a drinking problem to start with.

Guilty By Suspicion is not the ultimate telling of the blacklist's story, but it's still pretty good and does get a feel for the times the story is set in.


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