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The Marxist and the Movies: A Biography of Paul Jarrico

by Larry Ceplair

Availablecloth$50.00x 978-0-8131-2453-7
Screen Classics
352 pages  Pubdate: 11/16/2007  6 x 9  11 b&w photos

As part of its effort to rid the nation of Communist influence and infiltration, the House Un-American Activities Committee subpoenaed hundreds of actors, screenwriters, producers, and directors with suspected “Red” leanings in 1947. Some of these film industry veterans, including screenwriter Paul Jarrico (1915–1997), refused to testify on Capitol Hill and were denied subsequent employment. In The Marxist and the Movies, Larry Ceplair illuminates the life, career, and political activism of Jarrico, the recipient of an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Tom, Dick, and Harry (1941) and the producer of the only film ever blacklisted, The Salt of the Earth. Although the story of the Hollywood Ten has been told, The Marxist and the Movies is a unique look at Communist activities during this seminal period in American history. Ceplair recounts Jarrico’s struggles against both personal demons and the prevailing power structures of his era. Through firsthand accounts from Jarrico himself and interviews with those closest to him, as well as congressional records and statements from those on both sides of the Red Scare, Ceplair provides an intimate view of Paul Jarrico’s life, set in historical and cultural context.

A useful and riveting delineation of a complex man who in some very complicated times stood at the intersection of popular culture and radical politics. -- Daniel J. Leab, Seton Hall University

Ceplair's compelling story of a man who spent his life struggling for freedom of thought, is suddenly timely, impossible to read without thinking Patriot Act. This superb account of Jarrico's dogged persistence in getting Salt of the Earth made, restoring credits to blacklistees, and finally, prevailing upon the Hollywood guilds and unions to apologize for their part in the Blacklist, is inspiring. -- Norma Barzman, screenwriter

Ceplair's work in scruplulous, well-written, empathetic, and emphatic. -- Paul Buhle, Brown University

Larry Ceplair created a fine biography on Jarrico's unusual life. Marxist and the Movies, published by University Press of Kentucky, offers a rare insight to Jarrico's odyssey. -- Phil Hall,

Ceplair’s fine biography sheds important light on the blacklist and politics of the film community. [His] cautionary tale of Paul Jarrico might give pause to those who continue to perceive the diverse, capitalistic institution of Hollywood as a monolithic leftist political entity. -- Ron Briley, History News Network

Working from the late Jarrico’s personal archive and from Congressional records, interviews with those who knew him and from other sources, Ceplair has honored his subject with this well-documented and important book. -- Moviescope

[This book] is a very capable introduction not only to Jarrico’s life, but to the wider story of film and politics in the era of the blacklist. -- David J. Snyder -- Journal of American History

"The Marxist and the Movies is a unique look at Communist activities during this seminal period in American history."