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Radical Innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten

by Bernard F. Dick

Availableweb pdf$30.00x 978-0-8131-4771-0
Availablepaperback$30.00x 978-0-8131-9328-1
Out of Printcloth$45.00x 978-0-8131-1660-0
280 pages  Pubdate: 07/11/2014  6 x 9  illus

On October 30, 1947, the House Committee on Un-American Activities concluded the first round of hearings on the allege Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry. Hollywood was ordered to “clean its own house,” and ten witnesses who had refused to answer questions about their membership in the Screen Writers Guild and the Communist party eventually received contempt citations. By 1950 the Hollywood Ten, as they quickly became known, were serving prison sentences ranging from six months to a year. Since that time the group, which included writers, directors, and a producer, have been either dismissed as industry hacks or eulogized as Cold War martyrs, but never have they been discussed in terms of their profession.

Radical Innocence is the first study to focus on the work of the Ten: their short stories, plays, novels, criticism, poems, memoirs, and, of course, their films. Drawing on myriad sources, including archival materials, unpublished manuscripts, black-market scripts, screenplay drafts, letters, and personal interviews, Bernard F. Dick describes the Ten’s survival tactics during the blacklisting and analyzes the contribution of these ten individuals no only to film but also to the arts. Radical Innocence captures the personality of each of the Ten—the arrogant Herbert J. Biberman, the witty Ring Lardner, Jr., the patriarchal Samuel Ornitz, the compassionate Adrian Scott, and the feisty Dalton Trumbo.

Rescues the Hollywood Ten from their usual collective anonymity by individualizing their talents and their politics...Thoroughly researched and sharply written, the work concludes with a superb chronology/bibliography/filmography for each writer. -- Choice

Most of the Ten found their creativity stymied, their career options limited by their notoriety. This insightful critical study lifts a veil off a period of blacklisting paranoia that lingered on until the mid-1960's. -- Publishers Weekly