The HUAC and the Hollywood Ten
Category : Articles
A look at the 1940s fiasco of the Hollywood Ten, in which ten prominent figures in the film business were blacklisted for supposed anti-American views.
This paper examines how the late 1940s proved to be an interesting time in American history. It looks at how a new threat arose against the U.S. government as American communists began spying for the Soviet Union. In particular, it explores how J. Edgar Hoover and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began to look into the mass media to find supposed Communist views, focusing on the film industry, and how, in 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee under the leadership of a certain J. Parnell Thomas, held a hearing in which ten of Hollywood?s premier film makers, actors, and producers were found to hold anti-American Communist views in their works. These Hollywood members became known as ?The Hollywood Ten?.
“In order to single out supposed Communist members in Hollywood, the FBI devised certain set of criteria to determine if films contained anti-American views. Films were labeled subversive if ?Values or institutions judged to be particularly American are smeared or represented as evil in the movie, either explicitly or through casual references to current political events,? or if ?Values or institutions judged to be particularly anti-American or pro-Communist are glorified in the movie, either explicitly or through casual references to current political events (Noakes 5).? According to John Noakes, an assistant professor of sociology at Franklin and Marshall College, ?In four reports submitted between August 7 and November 17, 1947, the Los Angeles field office sent FBI headquarters reviews of seventeen movies released between 1943-1948 that it determined were subversive based on the MPAPAI criteria. ”