Through a focus on the life of Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976), this film examines the effects on individuals and families of a congressional pursuit of Hollywood Communists after World War II. ... See full summary »
Through a focus on the life of Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976), this film examines the effects on individuals and families of a congressional pursuit of Hollywood Communists after World War II. Trumbo was one of several writers, directors, and actors who invoked the First Amendment in refusing to answer questions under oath. They were blacklisted and imprisoned. We follow Trumbo to prison, to exile in Mexico with his family, to poverty, to the public shunning of his children, to his writing under others' names, and to an eventual but incomplete vindication. Actors read his letters; his children and friends remember and comment. Archive photos, newsreels and interviews add texture. Written by
Trumbo is undoubtedly a hero for his dogged determination to stand by his principles, to hold in contempt a truly contemptible congressional committee and to suffer the dire consequences and outcast status, along with his family, essentially for the rest of his life.
The McCarthyist period rightfully remains one of the most shameful in the history of the so-called "Land of the Free".
It was great to see the interviews with Trumbo himself and with those that knew him, however I found the numerous readings of his often interminably long letters a drag. One or two would have been sufficient to get the tenor of his correspondence style.
This film does not justify the 96 minutes feature format. It is really a documentary and the usual 50 minutes would have done it nicely.
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