Fifty years after the blacklist, Hollywood is honoring the living screenwriters caught up in the Red Scare-era witch hunts. Still, the decades have not healed all wounds, and the two surviving members of the Hollywood 10 remain angry over their very different roles in naming names to congressional investigators.
A commemorative event Monday came on the golden anniversary of the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee, during which Hollywood filmmakers were questioned about - and persecuted for - their politics.The Hollywood 10, a group of distinguished writers and directors, were cited for contempt of Congress and jailed for failing to cooperate with the committee.
Blacklisting of Hollywood writers suspected of communist leanings or affiliations began with the committee's hearings in October 1947. Hollywood blacklisting flourished into the 1950s.
Only one of the living members of the 10 - Ring Lardner Jr. - was to attend Monday's event. Lardner, the co-screenwriter of "Laura" and "Woman of the Year," will read a statement the committee refused to let him deliver after he declined to testify.
"I think it's appropriate for the occasion. They escorted me out of the hearings, and I never could read it," Lardner said, adding that he had lost the text but archivists found it.
The other living member, writer-director Edward Dmytryk, was invited but declined to attend. He served six months in jail, but upon his release he testified as a friendly witness, was removed from the blacklist and returned to work, making "The Sniper" and "The Caine Mutiny."
"I understand the amount of pressure he was under," Lardner, 82, said of Dmytryk. "I still think it was wrong."