Director Elia Kazan and playwright Arthur Miller were once best friends and professional colleagues, to most that knew them then in both capacities as soul mates. Their politics were ... See full summary »

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George Bartenieff ...
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Walter Bernstein ...
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Herbert J. Biberman ...
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Steve Centola ...
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Caroline Clay ...
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Thomas Doherty ...
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Director Elia Kazan and playwright Arthur Miller were once best friends and professional colleagues, to most that knew them then in both capacities as soul mates. Their politics were similar which was reflected in their work. Kazan was a Communist Party member for a few years in the mid-1930's, but Miller never officially joined the party ranks. Their relationship changed in the early 1950's when Kazan was subpoenaed to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. To the Committee, Kazan named names of supposed friends - albeit names the Committee already had - but for many, including Miller, Kazan's move was both an act of support of the Committee's blacklisting, and a purely self-preserving measure for his own movie directing career. Kazan's professional life, and by association personal life, was not an easy one following his testimony. Both Kazan and Miller's individual works following - most specifically Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954), Miller's "The Crucible"... Written by Huggo

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3 September 2003 (USA)  »

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References Splendor in the Grass (1961) See more »

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naming names for the HUAC
13 January 2004 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This documentary parallels the careers of director Elia Kazan and playwright Arthur Miller, based on their responses to the HUAC, where Kazan named names but Miller refused. Friends and artistic collaborators - Kazan had directed Miller's production of Death of a Salesman - Kazan being an informant ended contact between the men for 10 years.

What is interesting here is how each used his experience in his work. Miller wrote The Crucible as a metaphor for the witchhunts, with Abigail as Kazan. Kazan made the film On the Waterfront which turned the stool pigeon into a hero. Miller responded by showing an informant punished in A View from the Bridge, and their comeback production of After the Fall also covers the story of an informant.

The Marilyn Monroe connection in After the Fall (produced after her death) echoes Monroe's entanglements with both men. Before she hit in big in Hollywood and when Kazan and Miller first arrived, Miller was interested but it was Kazan who had the affair with her. Marilyn would keep in touch with Miller, and eventually marry him after he had divorced his wife.

Kazan defends his informing by a hatred of the Communist Party, the fact that the Committee already had the names he named anyway, that he asked and got permission for those her named, and because not naming would have meant the end of his Hollywood career. When Miller is later asked to name names, he uses his association with Monroe and the press to re-focus attention away from his refusal.

This doco opens with the recent protests over Kazan being awarded an honorary Oscar, uses period footage of the Academy Awards, and fascinating HUAC testimony, though the extended soundtrack to the Crucible stage production is a bit much.


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