link to McCarthyism


I read it was films like "Crossfire" in particular that triggered McCarthy's communist hunt in Hollywood.

Did the police captain seem too liberal? Or the hunt for the anti-semitic killer too "red" in any way? How can anyone feel threatened by an intelligent film like this?

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I'll never know.

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Greetings MarxBrosFan, I absolutely agree with you about this film. I can't imagine anyone but bigots taking exception to the theme of this film. Unfortunately, racial prejudice is alive and well everywhere. The very people who claim to be the victims practice it themselves towards others. I don't know any race that doesn't. The performances in this film were excellent. I love these old black and white movies. Robert Mitchum is my favourite actor in this field. I didn't know that any particular film was blamed for triggering McCarthy's witch hunt. The climate of the Cold War set the scene, and fanaticism and fear fuelled the engine. Amazing really, because we deplored this sort of behaviour in the Nazis.

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What "Crossfire" triggered was.......it brought Edward Dmytryk to the attention of McCarthy as a liberal and therefore a target of HUAC.

"All you need is a gorilla and a dream"

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Are you sure about this? I'd strongly doubt that the movie has anything to do with his investigation.

Dmytryk was a card-carrying Communist Party member at the time of World War II. Moreover, the brief biography of him on this site describes him as "a life-long political leftist". Dmytryk was a prominent director, not some stagehand, and his Communist Pasrty leanings, if not his outright membership - was undoubtedly known to most in Hollywood -- and therefore to any investigators employed by the HUAC looking into Communism in Hollywood.

As the site further states, after Dmytryk refused to answer Congress' questions about Communists in Hollywood, he was jailed for contempt. He then changed his mind, renounced Communism and voluntarily appeared before the HUAC, this time fully cooperating with their investigation into the subversion that I think all agree was attempted in most of the movie unions. (E.g., death threats were made to many if they opposed a Communist takeover of SAG, the Writers' Guild, and others -- including Robert Taylor, Ronald Reagan, and many others - discipline among Party members was tight).

Dmytryk never regretted having renounced his earlier Communism - or helping HUAC with everything he knew regarding its influence and maneuvers - including those he personally knew who had participated in the C.P.'s actions. As the biogrpahy states, his Hollywood career suffered for his cooperation with the Congressional investigation.

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Yeah..perhaps "Crossfire" was more peripheral to it all...although I do believe that the film itself was an excuse for Dmytryk's denunciation by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
They called three witnesses from this film to HUAC, but released Ryan when they checked out his war record. The producer of "Crossfire", Adrian Scott, , was named by Edward Dmytryk...& eventually blacklisted.
"Crossfire" received 5 Oscar nominations during the trial.

"All you need is a gorilla and a dream"

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If you haven't seen the DVD, get it. It has some interesting bonus material, including explanations by Dymtryk himself, as well as comments on the film by Adrian Scott and self-proclaimed Noir critic and historian James Ursini. The HUAC investigation nearly destoyed Dymtryk's career and runined him financially. He goes into this, a bit apologetically, perhaps rightly so, for his subsequent renunciation of the CP and, one would assume, for ratting out Adrian Scott, among others. But of particular interest are some of the choices he made in his direction and why. I don't want to be a spoiler, but the reason for filming the opeing scene in sillhouette wasn't what I expected. You'll have to rent the DVD to find out why!

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Typical garbage from the clueless lefties here.

McCarthy was a SENATOR.

He was NEVER in the House.

McCarthy had NOTHING to do with the lefties tiresome House UnAmerican Activities Committee, which dealt with Hollywood.

In his position as a US SENATOR, McCarthy investigated the US Defense and State Departments.

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Here's a bit of a history lesson for you. McCarthy had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with investigations into Communist infiltration in Hollywood. Let me repeat--McCarthy had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with investigations into Communist infiltration in Hollywood. I'll say it a third time so you won't miss it--McCarthy had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with investigations into Communist infiltration in Hollywood.

The Senate sub-comittee which brought Senator Joseph McCarthy to fame was SOLELY concerned with investigating Communist infiltration into various departments of the Federal government. The House Un-American Activities Committee was responsible for the investigation and subsequent hearings into Communist infiltration in Hollywood. Let me spell it out clearer: it was HUAC and not McCarthy which investigated Communism in Hollywood and put forth the so-called blacklist. McCarthy had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with it.

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"Odd Man Out" A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten(1996) by Edward Dmytryk. A good read which sets out the whole saga from Dmytryk's point of view.

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McCarthy may not have participated in the investigation of Hollywood, but he got the whole malignant ball rolling before that.

If you repeat something three times, does that legitimize it? Belligerent posts are usually not persuasive. Readers find themselves so offended by the tone that they don't want to agree with the argument.

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Senator Joseph McCarthy as his title implies was a Senator. The Hollywood blacklist was by HUAC, The House Un-American Activities Committee! The lies about McCarthy have been told so many times that they are now thought to be the truth. McCarthy was a patriotic American who wanted to know why there were Communists in high level positions of government and the army. With the release of The Venona Papers in 1998, the actual Soviet cables of the 1930's-1950's McCarthy was proven right. There were actually Communist spies in high levels of government and the army.

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McCarthy was a true American hero for rooting out the Communist bastards in the Federal government. The only negative thing I would say is that his investigation was a little too wide and lacked focus. My grandfather was a low level employee of the Dept of Agriculture in the 1940's and he remembered that everyone was under suspicion.

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The evil that McCarthy and all who followed him did wasn't the search for Communists, in Hollywood or the Government or anywhere else, so the fact that there turn out to have been spies in the latter during the time the committee was running wild is irrelevant. McCarthy's evil was the methods he and his cohorts used in conducting their search. Apologists to the contrary, the ends didn't then, don't now and never will justify unjust means.


"The value of an idea has nothing to do with the honesty of the man expressing it."--Oscar Wilde

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...And you KNOW McCarthy's methods were evil because they have been "drumming" it into your head for 50 years.

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>>...And you KNOW McCarthy's methods were evil because they have been "drumming" it into your head for 50 years.<<

Nope. Drumming notwithstanding, I can read what the man himself wrote, and I can hear the words coming out of his own mouth in films not only of the HUAC hearings but also of other newscasts and appearances from that time. I don't make decisions based on what other people tell me, but on what I can find out for myself. If you have primary sources that back up your position, I'd be interested to see them.


"The value of an idea has nothing to do with the honesty of the man expressing it."--Oscar Wilde

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Sorry, but HUAC stands for House Un-American activities Committee. Senator Joseph McCarthy as his title implies was a Senator. He was never a member the House, and had nothing to do with the HUAC hearings. You are seeing and hearing only the clips that the McCarthy haters want you to see. This is the way McCarthy hatred is perpetuated. I suggest the book "Congressional Record: Major Speeches And Debates of Senator Joe McCarthy Delivered In The United States Senate 1950-1951" (Reprint From The Congressional Record) Gordon Press 1975. This book is available on E-Bay for $15 or less. This is the mans actual words. McCarthy's mistake was to take on the wrong crowd, they lined up the media (newspapers, radio, and television) to beat him down. If you get this book, you will see how he refused to name names (using only case numbers), only doing so when forced to by Senior Senators who then turned around and blamed him for naming names.

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I'm well aware what HUAC stood for, thank you. It's rather naïve to believe a Senator can have no influence on members of Congress, or that there weren't members of that body--the most likely ones to gravitate to the HUAC--who agreed with his opinion. You say read his words in the book. I've already said where I got his words from. Did those senior Senators make him say what he said on newsreels and on television? You say, "You are seeing and hearing only the clips that the McCarthy haters want you to see." You know where there are others? I live in Los Angeles, 20 minutes from the Museum of Radio and Television and slightly less from the Motion Picture Academy library. You overestimate the supposed plot against Senator McCarthy and you underestimate my research ability. I'll say this: I've ordered a copy of that book from Alibris. I assume it corroborates your statement about those Senior Senators?


"The value of an idea has nothing to do with the honesty of the man expressing it."--Oscar Wilde

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I was a college student during those years, raised in California's Orange County (which was a few years later nicknamed "John Birch County") and had a father who believed that one of my textbooks should be withdrawn because it defined Communism as pwertaining to economics theories.

I however formed my own beliefs and got into an argument in a creative writing class for writing a sketch depicting the climate at the time as being one in which an intelligent person was fearful of expressing personal opinion and therefore being labelled as "a commie sympathizer".

While I feel that many liberals go too far, I'm glad that we moved away from the mood of those days.


Captain Warren 'Rip' Murdock: I'm the brass-knuckles-in-the-teeth-to-dance-time type.

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I know that McCarthy's methods were evil because my father was one of the people affected by them. He worked for the National Labor Relations Board, and was investigated as a possible "communist sympathizer." Considering how thoroughly my father hated communism, it might have been funny, if it hadn't almost destroyed his honorable career. After he passed away, my wife and I found among his papers the defense of himself he'd had to submit. What a degrading thing to have to do, for a man of rigid integrity. But of course, McCarthy didn't care whom he hurt, whom he ruined, in his blind pursuit of power through lies, innuendo, and outright bullying. And you latter day defenders of him are just as despicable, with your ignorant braying that "he was right," ready to throw away all our hard won liberty in the name of right wing paranoia and thirst for power. Try to understand this: real Americans like living in a land of liberty, with the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and particularly the Bill of Rights. Never try to say that you're defending those freedoms by attacking them. It was a lie when McCarthy said it, it's a lie when George Bush says it, and it's a lie when you say it.

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Bravo Teach417. Great post.

The modern right-wing revision of McCarthy's witchhunt is very disturbing. They are trying to turn him into a hero for ruining the lives of people who think differently (Communists, Socialists) so they can rationalize doing the same today (Progressives, Homosexuals, Athiests).

There is nothing inherently "evil" about being a Communist, just as Capitalism or Democracy are not inherently evil. It's the people behind the lable who we must hold accountable for the evil acts.

Blame the man, not the ideology.

"Push the button, Max!"

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What made McCarthy such a despicable (and tragic) character, is not that he was hunting commies, but that he was doing it entirely in the furtherance of his own career. And he didn't care a whit for the lives and livlihoods he ruined in the process with his lies and exagerations and innuendo. He got less than he deserved in the end. Meanwhile Nixon, who made his bones in the same way as McCarthy, went on to bigger and better things and, aside from public shame, got off scot free.

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Now you've confused me.

Are you trying to say that McCarthy had nothing whatsoever to do with the investigation of Communist influence in Hollywood?

Could you repeat it please?

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The message of the film was that the defeat of the Nazis had not brought about the defeat of antisemitism and fascism and it was right. McCarthyism soon reared its ugly head, embodying a bit of both tendencies. How ironic that one of its first victims was the director and the producer of this movie!

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To me it seems that this film describes McCarthyism. The blacklisting came a lot earlier than this film, almost immediately after WW2, so this film couldnt be a reason for it happening. The speech that Levene tells Mitchell in the bar, is pretty much explaining a point of view on how the McCarthys came along.

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McCarthy himself had nothing to do with going after "Reds" in Hollywood, which was done by the HUAC which was a House of Representatives committee. McCarthy was a Senator so had nothing to do with the HUAC. Also the Hollywood Ten thing started in 1947, McCarthy did not come to prominence until 1950, as a result of a speech he made in Wheeling, W. Virginia. The whole complex Reds under the Bed thing is often loosely called McCarthyism.
McCarthy's downfall partly arose from going after alleged Reds in the US Army, partly from the fact that the Army hearings were televised and he was not telegenic. He came across as bullying and shifty.

"Chicken soup - with a *beep* straw."

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