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The main purpose of the paper is to represent a book report after studying and analyzing Hollywood on Trial: McCarthyism’s War against the Movies (Freedland 2007). This work was written by Michael Freedland. It tells about one of the hardest periods in the history of the American film industry and the whole country, in general. The timeframe from the middle of the 1940s is known because of the policy of witch-hunting. An intense anti-communist policy continued till the late 1950s. One of its brightest supporters was Joseph McCarthy, the United States’ Senator of Wisconsin. This book describes this period and tells about the stories of people from the film industry of Hollywood that had witnessed the impact of this specific witch-hunting.
The novel tells a true life story of J. Parnell Thomas, who was the Committee Chairman. It was a specific version of the House of Representatives of Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunts. This person has made an outstanding career in ruining the big number of people’s lives within the movie industry.
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“The irony was that at this time the Communist Party was legal. People were sent to prison for refusing to say if they were communists” (Freedland 2007). Despite that, the masses of people had been put into jail just because they were refusing to answer to the question whether they had been communists and reveal names. The hard times for the United States had been producing the serious harm within all spheres of social life. The most serious and bright effect was seen in the movie industry.
The noisy and extremely smoke-filled courtroom being so full with voices and other noises, even the sound of the gavel could not be heard from the raised desk, was situated in California. It was extremely specific not only because of the atmosphere but because of a uniquedefendant being the Hollywood itself. The Hollywood had been placed on trial with the help of the United States’ Congress. This process had taken quite a long period of time. However, by 1953, this trial had seemed to almost finish with a death sentence or a sentence of shame.
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The Committee had been constantly looking for reds in the capital of the United States’ film industry. It seemed to finally decide that the job had been done. It was proclaimed that the Hollywood had finally become clean and safe. However, in fact, it became even dirtier than it had been ever before. Within this process, a key role had been played by J. Parnell Thomas, a person that made his name known all over the country due to mass imprisonments of many people from the movie industry as well as severe restrictions for this business in Hollywood.
After coming through the Committee, the series of the brightest light of the Hollywood film industry had been prohibited to work. A great number of people had been put into prison or taken the right to leave the country. Charlie Chaplin and Robert Paulson had been denied to have passports that allowed them to leave the United States. A lot of Oscar-winning writers were enforced to give their scenarios to their unknown colleagues in order to make them live under the new, not prohibited names and then become shared to proceeds. It would give them an ability to succeed. Such well-known people and stars as Lauren Bacall, John Huston, Danny Kaye, and Humphrey Bogart went to Washington to publicly and openly present their protest against the Hollywood ten’ imprisonment and witch-hunting. They were the first Hollywood writers to get into the so-called black list. Unfortunately, the same hard destiny had been prepared for Bacall and Bogart when they were questioned by the representatives of the Committee. The multiple humiliations took place within the industry till the end of the 1950s. A lot of people had been seriously harmed as their lives and careers were completely destroyed. The scars of this horrible time period have remained till today.
The black list was known for denying employment to actors, writers, and many other professionals within the movie industry as a result of being suspected of their political beliefs. They had been deprived to work because of the possible sympathy to the American Communist Party. Moreover, the other accusations could have been connected with the involvement in the series of progressive political cases. They had been associated or potentially somehow connected with communism. The indictments had been formulated by the Committee. People were also punished for their refusals to assist in the series of investigation in the activities of the Communist Party.
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The book covers the period of the toughest McCarthyism, the late 1940s and 1950s. However, it can be seen that even in this timeframe the black lists had been rarely made verifiable. But, despite this fact, they truly had harmed lives of people. In November of 1947, the first black list was composed after the refusal of ten writers to witness for the Committee. The studio executives, under the pressure of the government, had been enforced to fire artists. This case became famous as the Waldorf Statement. It was followed by the publication of Red Channels that contained the information about the film industry professionals being considered to be the Red Fascists or those people being sympathetic to them. The policy of blacklists had continued till the 1960s. The most outstanding representatives of this business had been enforced to leave the country or the industry. Many of them, such as Walt Disney, openly had protested against the persecutions of artists that were standing in front of the politics.
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