HOME is set to present a season of cinema from directors and writers who continued their filmmaking careers despite their names being blacklisted by Hollywood during the anti-communist witch hunt.
In 19747, 10 film producers, directors, and screenwriters—known as The Hollywood Ten—were charged and later jailed for their refusal to collaborate with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
The Hollywood Film industry would then go on to operate a blacklist, as it attempted to prevent ‘communist sympathisers’ from working within it, leading a number of filmmakers into exile. The ones who were able to carry on could not find work in America, and would operate in Europe—though their input was without credit or released under pseudonyms. It would be decades before they got any kind of recognition for the work they had produced.
This latest HOME season showcases the work of some of those who managed to continue in the profession in the most difficult of circumstances.
Kicking the season off on Sat 14 May is a special One Hour Intro from season curator Andy Willis, where he’ll be exploring in detail the contribution of Hollywood blacklistees to film culture in Europe during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Screening the same day is Jules Dassin’s moody, tense, London-set film noir Night and the City. The film’s atmosphere benefits greatly from being shot on location in England. The director was blacklisted during the shooting of the film and not allowed to work on some of the post-production.
Screening on rare 35mm print is Spanish cinema classic Calle Mayor on Thu 19 May. Commenting on the wider class-based social structures of Spain at the time, the film follows unmarried woman Isabel as a group of bored local men plot to embarrass her by feigning romantic interest. From writer Juan Antonio Bardem.
Seen by many as a classic British film, Zulu depicts the 1879 battle of Rorke’s Drift. Director and co-writer Cy Endfield was blacklisted from Hollywood and later worked extensively in the UK. Today, the film raises questions regarding the representation of the Zulu nation and the success of the film’s anti-imperialist intentions. Screening Sun 22 May.
Screening Tue 24 May is Time Without Pity, following David, a recovering alcoholic, who has one day to save his son from hanging for murder. It marked the first-time director Joseph Losey was able to use his own name following his blacklisting from Hollywood.
Screening Fri 27 May as part of this season as well as a continuation of HOME’s Cult Films strand is Horror Express. A classic 1970s horror film that brings together genre icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing alongside Telly Savalas on a Trans-Siberian Express heading for Moscow, where a hideous primitive creature is running amok.
On Sun 29 May is The Bridge on the River Kwai. Widely seen as one of the greatest wartime films ever made, the film reveals the horror of life for captured troops forced to work on the building of a railway to connect Bangkok and Rangoon.
Rififi finishes the season on Tue 31 May. Backlisted director Jules Dassin took on a low budget project with no major stars attached and managed to craft one of the most gripping and influential heist films ever made.
- Bradley Lengden
- Published on:
- Thu 12 May 2022