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A very special oral history offers an instructive and moving chronicle of the Hollywood blacklist, showing how McCarthyism and fear deeply affected people's lives, as more than thirty survivors share their long-supressed stories. Reprint.
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Film historians Patrick McGilligan and Paul Buhle have assembled a collection of interviews with film writers, directors, and actors whose careers were interrupted by the blacklist imposed in the wake of congressional probes into alleged Communist influence over the motion-picture industry. The subjects, including two of the "Hollywood Ten," Alvah Bessie and Ring Lardner Jr., systematically debunk the notion that there was an extensive conspiracy to load mainstream movies with "Red propaganda." "We were in the film business not to change the world but to make films," recalls writer-director Abraham Polonsky. "To change the world we were involved in other kinds of things, like the labor struggle in Hollywood." Screenwriter Paul Jarrico concurs: "The Communist Party was not a revolutionary organization, not in the period when I was in it. It was a reformist organization, and for most of the years I was in it, it was the tail to the liberal-Democrat kite." (Recent historical research, it must be noted, indicates that Kremlin officials did in fact wield substantial influence over the CPUSA platform. Evidence for the attempted subversion of America's movies, however, remains elusive.)
Some of those shut out of the industry weren't even actual Communists, but ran into them as part of broader leftist activities. Character actor Lionel Stander, for example, became an actor in order to support his extravagant lifestyle; when the film jobs disappeared, he waited out the studios on the stock market. "It seems that if my face or figure got on the screen, so delicate was the balance of the American socioeconomic and political scene at the time that I would throw the thing right off the tightrope," he recalls drolly. "But I could go to Wall Street and invest the savings of widows and orphans with impunity." At turns mirthful and tragic, Tender Comrades presents an unfiltered perspective on the cold war that should be studied by anyone interested in the effects of a government persecuting its own people. --Ron HoganFrom the Publisher:
Praise for Tender Comrades:
"An acute portrait of that squalid time when the witch-hunt was on in Hollywood and of the thirty-six movie artists interviewed here who were deprived of a livelihood--even as hundreds of others lived in fear of the House Un-American Activities Committee--while havoc was strewn through their lives and their professions." --Norman Mailer
"This is not the usual book of remembrances--nostalgic, bittersweet, and all that. This is chapter-and-verse recall of our country's most shameful epoch....It is eloquent and revelatory, but most of all, it is a cautionary tale." --Studs Terkel
"Everybody in America should be entitled to their opinions, and in Tender Comrades, a rich, hefty book[,] we get plenty....McGilligan is the preeminent historian of Hollywood writers." --The Village Voice
"A rich compendium of Hollywood reminiscences...[It] provides the collective oral history of an unscrupulous industry's ethnic cleansing." --The Texas Observer
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Book Description Griffin, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1999. Soft cover. Condition: New. TIA (illustrator). NEW Book, perfect condition, cover/text completely pristine. No physical flaws. FREE TRACKING within the US, and email notice when shipped. Normally, books are shipped twice a day, with afternoon USPS pickup, or next morning drop-off at the Post Office. We package on Sunday for shipment first thing Monday morning. Your satisfaction guaranteed. We have multiple copies of most books. Email inquiries are welcomed. Thanks for reading all of our boilerplate. Seller Inventory # 008047
Book Description St. Martin's Press, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0312200315