The movie “Trumbo” is well done and entertaining. Because Bryan Cranston is brilliant and Hollywood has always adored itself, it may fare well during the upcoming awards season.
The story is set during the Cold War era when conservatives in Congress saw Communist conspiracies lurking in every shadow. The movie industry, then as now, contained a high percentage of sympathetic limousine liberals.
Decorated screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo was among those subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He refused and was found at trial to be in contempt of Congress, for which he spent 11 months in federal prison.
Trumbo and some of his contemporaries were blacklisted, and the big studios refused to hire them, curtailing or ending their careers. Some worked under pen names. Trumbo was the first to beat the blacklist. His name was on “Exodus” for Otto Preminger and “Spartacus” for Kirk Douglas. Both were released in 1960.
Such was Trumbo’s talent that he was winning awards long after he passed away in 1976.
In 2011, he was given full writing credit – and the Oscar – for the 1953 romantic comedy “Roman Holiday.” (Ian McLellan Hunter served as a “front” for Trumbo when the script was submitted to Paramount.)
The star of the “McCarthy Era,” Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, didn’t live to see the end of it, passing away in 1957 at 48. Feel free to make your own determinations whether the State Department was infested with Communist sympathizers, as he claimed.
But consider this: The rumors, accusations and innuendo that ruled the McCarthy Era have returned. When people with conservative leanings are denied promotions in newsrooms or on college faculties, liberals cheer. Then they go out to see “Trumbo” without considering the parallels, much less the irony.