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Guilty by Suspicion (1991)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  15 March 1991 (USA)
6.5
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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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Title: Guilty by Suspicion (1991)

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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
Ben Piazza ...
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Joe Lesser
Barry Primus ...
Bert Alan
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Chairman Wood
Robin Gammell ...
Congressman Tavenner
Brad Sullivan ...
Congressman Velde
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Ray Karlin
...
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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All it took was a whisper.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

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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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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Blacklisted writer/director Abraham Polonsky wrote the original screenplay for the film. When Irwin Winkler decided to rewrite the script by changing De Niro's character from a Communist to a more generic Liberal, Polonsky had his name removed from the film's credits. "I wanted it to be about Communists because that's the way it really happened. ... They didn't need another story about a man who was falsely accused," he said in an interview in the New York Times. See more »

Goofs

There is a Milwaukee Braves baseball pennant on the wall of Merrill's son's room. This film takes place in 1951 and 1952. The Braves didn't move to Milwaukee from Boston until 1953. See more »

Quotes

David Merrill: [to the Blacklist Committee] Fuck them!
See more »

Connections

References Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

IT NEVER ENTERED MY MIND
Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Performed by George Shearing
Courtesy of Concord Jazz, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
teaching tool
6 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is Perhaps the most emotional and realistic teaching tool to communicate the effects that McCarthyism had on the personal lives of those who were implicated by the HUAC committee. The climactic trial scene stands as a monument to the abuse of power of demagogues and obscenity of political bullying. (The trial scene though is a composite of many of the McCarthy HUAC hearings and thus needs to be explained by the teacher.) The resemblences of major characters such as David Merill in the movie (David Merick in real life) are transparent enough to use as fact. Scorsesee and De Niro made a few non gangster movies that were significant and underrated . This is one of them (King of Comedy is another). The political tool of intimidation of Hollywood intellectual types depicted in this film is especially relevant today given the climate of Rush Limbaugh and his miinions. The acting, soundtrack, cinematography are all impeccable. Many of the small parts are played by character actors who will be recognizable to your students. The film also pays careful attention to the sights and sounds of Hollywood in the fifties. As far as the omnipresent issue of Hollywood vs History this film ranks as one of the most fidelitous to history. Use it.


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