Hollywood And Mccarthy

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Michael Freedland tells the story of an infamous period in Hollywood's history, the House on Un-American Activities Committee.

It is over 50 years since the 'House on Un-American Activities Committee' sat.

Long associated - incorrectly - with Senator Joseph McCarthy - it seemed bent on destroying the careers of so many Hollywood actors, writers, directors and producers.

Set up in the fifties to root out Communism when Roosevelt's wartime rapprochement with the Soviet Union was no longer acceptable, HUAC was aided and abetted by the movie moguls who decided this was the perfect way to demonstrate their total commitment to America.

In 1947 the committee was determined to prove that the Screen Writers' Guild had Communist members and thereby show that these writers were able to insert subversive propaganda into Hollywood films.

Not only that, J.

Parnell Thomas, the head of the committee, argued that President Roosevelt had encouraged pro-Soviet films during the war.

Although none of these claims was ever substantiated, the committee's tactics worked to force many talented and creative people to leave Hollywood.

With music from the films of the era and extracts from such films as Sam Wanamaker's 'Guilty by Suspicion' and John Wayne's absurdly gung-ho movie 'Big Jim McLaine', in which he plays a HUAC investigator this two part series traces the damage the committee wreaked on Hollywood and those who sought to gain from it.