January 1, 1947 - The Hollywood Ten

By Emma Lavis

In October of 1947, major accusations and trials regarding communist screen writes and directors took place in Hollywood. The group is called Hollywood 10 because it consisted of 10 motion-picture directors and producers who were accused of supporting and implementing communist ideas and beliefs in screen writes and movies in Hollywood. This whole trial took place during the time of the Red Scare in America where the fear of communism ruled the US and everyone feared the rise of communism. So due to this communism scare in America, everyone was on guard and fought communism and accused many people.

These hearings and trials consisted of the 10 producers and writers and Bertolt Brecht, a German writer, who fled the US and did not get tried. The original 10 consisted of Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman , Lester Cole , Edward Dmytryk , Ring Lardner Jr. , John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Robert Adrian Scott and Dalton Trumbo. These men appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee, HUAC, in Washington, D.C and refused to answer any questions. They neither admitted nor defended themselves to any of the claims. And on November 24, these men were charged with contempt and sent to prison. Later on, in prison Edward Dmytryk broke down like all of the others and admitted to being communist and gave the names of 26 other men involved in these communist ideals in Hollywood screen writes. They were then sentenced the following year, where the charges ranged from six months to one year depending on the severity.

All the other men except Edward Dmytryk were blacklisted by the industry and would never be hired or work on another project in Hollywood. These communist producers and directors were shunned by people and struggled to find a new source of income with their reputations. But with a new name, some changed their fate and wrote some scripts. Then after the dark cloud disappeared, the blacklists were gone and many returned to the business under their real names.

This event in history was monumental because men were ousted as being communist in the movie industry and their lives were ruined. These hidden communists eventually admitted to their faults and the reality of the red scare became even more apparent. This whole trial made people question who to trust because even entertainment was ridden with communists. This was a huge part of the Red Scare and the non-communist movement during the Cold War and throughout American History.

Bibliography

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, ed. “Hollywood 10.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Last modified January 28, 2020. Accessed May 27, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hollywood-Ten.

History.com Editors, ed. “Hollywood 10.” History.com. Last modified September 12, 2018. Accessed May 27, 2020. https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/hollywood-ten.

 

Hollywood 10. Photograph. Bleeker Street. Accessed May 27, 2020. https://d1i174dmgacf1.cloudfront.net/sized/59a7e006-2f62-4572-88d6-d5d8b4057a61/1260x.jpg.

 

Hollywood 10. Photograph. Word Press. Accessed May 27, 2020. https://mholloway63.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/hollywood10.jpg.

 

Hollywood 10. Photograph. CovalentLogic. Accessed May 27, 2020. https://www.covalentlogic.com/assets/images/newsroom/September2018/hollywood-blacklist-article-4.jpg.

12 Dec 1947, Los Angeles, California, USA — Cited for Contempt. Los Angeles: Nine of Ten Hollywood writers, directors, and producers cited for contempt of Congress, await fingerprinting in the U.S. Marshall’s Office after they surrendered. They are (left to right), Robert Scott, Edward Dmytryk, Samuel Ornitz, Lester Cole, Herbert Biberman, Albert Maltz, Alvah Bessie, John Lawson, and Ring Lardner, Jr. Dalton Trumbo is scheduled to appear shortly. These are the men who refused to state whether or not they are Communists when questioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington recently. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS