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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ordeals of a True Man of Letters, December 1, 2009
This review is from: Trumbo (DVD)
Dalton Trumbo was a leading screenwriter before his inclusion on HUAC's "Black List" brought his career to a standstill, and then drove him underground. However, as this documentary reveals, he was also a master letter-writer. During the years when he couldn't any longer openly write screenplays, he still wrote letters - beautiful, eloquent letters to friends and foes.

This documentary has some first-rate actors reminiscing about their acquaintanceship with Trumbo during those McCarthy-era years, and reading his letters. If you think sitting and listening to actors read letters would be boring - this DVD will change your mind. People such as Paul Giamatti bring Trumbo to life via these sometimes acerbic, sometimes affectionate, always literate letters.

The readings and reminisces are interspersed with footage of the HUAC hearings, showing the Hollywood celebrities who felt pressured to "name names," and those who refused and suffered the consequences. There is also home movie footage and photographs providing snapshots of Trumbo's family through some of the good times and the bad. We see Trumbo as being above all a family-man, sustained through the years of Black List ostracism by these relationships. So at its core, this turns out to be an unexpected love story.

Whether the people who were blacklisted had entertained Communist sympathies or not - this film puts a personal face on the ordeal of being blacklisted for one's beliefs - or suspected beliefs.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 1, 2012 4:36:40 AM PDT
Minor point - Trumbo was called to testify before HUAC, he was blacklisted by the studios. Sorry to mention this.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2013 2:48:39 PM PST
Just found out the blacklist was basically a union busting tactic by the big studios. It started as a reaction to a "successful" Disney animator's strike . Walt Disney didn't like that collective bargaining and the unions won so he got together with the other biggies and started this whole "Red Menace" scare.
I think this film is very good, but the subject is a large one and has many levels to it. What's frightening is how easily it could happen again, and that unions have been attack since the blacklist was first invented.
Do you have any suggestions for another DVD besides this one I could get for some youngsters I want to learn about this part of our history?
Thanks in advance.
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