blacklist

Vera Caspary's Laura

Turns out that film noir classic Laura, written by blacklisted screenwriter and novelist Vera Caspary, has a perfect 100 on Rotten Tomatoes. In a recent article, Kelcie Mattson (who coincidentally graduated from Stephens College, where blacklisted actor Jean Muir once taught acting) describes the film as depicting "the ways realistic women move within stifling conditions, and how men react when women breach patriarchal expectations." As such, she adds, "Laura stands tall as a minor miracle."

Judy Holliday and the Blacklisters

Judy Holliday was brilliant. She was a smart and funny, a member of a Village improv group called the Revuers. She was committed to a wide range of political causes, including serving on the radical Voice of Freedom Committee along with Dorothy Parker and Paul Robeson, and supporting the Civil Rights Congress.

The Radical Hannah Weinstein

Hannah Weinstein was a blacklisted writer who left the US in 1950 with her three young daughters and founded Sapphire Films in England, a company that went on to inaugurate the costume drama craze of the fifties before returning to the US in the 1960s and, with Ossie Davis, James Earl Jones, and Rita Moreno, founding Third World Cinema Corporation. Her daughter Paula became a successful movie producer and studio executive in the US.

Langston Hughes, the Chicago Defender, and Ghosts

I just stumbled across this article, which combines three wonderful items: Langston Hughes, the Chicago Defender, and ghosts. Hughes was a poet and writer who was blacklisted in the 1950s and the subject of much government and anti-communist organization concern because of his powerful voice and the respect he commanded. The Chicago Defender was one of the most important African American newspapers.

Lillian Hellman, censored in Florida, knew a thing or two about blacklists

Author Lillian Hellman's plays have been pulled from the shelves of Orange County Public School libraries in Orlando, Florida, victims of House Bill 1069--a bill restricting everything from pronoun use to sex education and other issues deemed offensive by Florida conservatives.

Why is queer media history always about men?

The New Yorker just reviewed Paramount+'s new streaming series, Fellow Travelers. I'm so glad to see more media about the blacklist era, especially stories that explore the sordidness of anti-communists like Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn (who were front men for a dense network of gossips and homophobes).