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The Hollywood Blacklist and Its Influence on The Crucible

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The Hollywood Blacklist and Its Influence on The Crucible Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan, 1950s McCarthyism and the House Committee on Un-American Activities – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Hollywood Blacklist and Its Influence on The Crucible


1
The Hollywood Blacklist and Its Influence on The
Crucible
  • Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan,
  • 1950s McCarthyism and the House Committee on
    Un-American Activities

2
Arthur Miller (1915-2005)
  • One of Americas greatest playwrights
  • Penned The Crucible and Death of a Salesman,
    among other works
  • Born in New York, Miller studied journalism at
    The University of Michigan before returning to
    NYC
  • Miller met Elia Kazan, a man who would become his
    closest friend, while working with the Federal
    Theatre Project

3
Elia Kazan (1909-2003)
  • A celebrated director and producer of major
    motion pictures.
  • Directed A Streetcar Named Desire, On the
    Waterfront, among other works.
  • Kazan and Miller teamed up in NYC in creative
    collaboration Miller wrote the scripts Kazan
    directed them.

4
The Hook
  • The Great Depression left many Americans
    wondering about the stability of US policy, and
    influenced the two men to explore socialist and
    communist ideologies. After attending some
    informational meetings, Kazan joined the
    communist party (and later left) Miller did not
    join.
  • Miller and Kazan witnessed mobsters monopolizing
    jobs on the Jersey docks as workers, desperate
    for income, were exploited. This served as the
    inspiration for their collaborative play The
    Hook, a story about one mans struggle against
    injustice on the docks.
  • Miller and Kazan move to Hollywood, taking their
    script with them.

5
Senator Joe McCarthy (R) Wis
  • Americans in the 1940s and 50s were fearful of
    Communism, and Senator Joe McCarthy validated
    that fear with an organized interrogation
    committee.
  • McCarthy became and remains famous for his
    single-minded obsession with identifying and
    interrogating supposed communist sympathizers,
    particularly in the media.

6
McCarthyism (n.)
  • The practice of publicizing accusations of
    political disloyalty or subversion with
    insufficient regard to evidence.
  • The use of unfair or unscrupulous investigatory
    or accusatory methods in order to suppress
    opposition.

7
House Committee on Un-American Activities
  • HUAC, McCarthys committee, identified 19
    communist party members in Hollywood.
  • HUAC called in the Hollywood Ten (all communist
    party members) to testify, and to name other
    communists they know. The Blacklist begins.
  • Elia Kazan was among those later called to
    testify. At first he resisted the pressure, but
    eventually he named 17 communists, all of whom
    had been previously named by someone else.

8
The Hollywood Blacklist
  • All individuals who testified before HUAC were
    asked to identify other people they knew from
    communist meetings. The list grew and grew.
  • Hollywood was torn by mistrust and worry. Many
    people found themselves mysteriously out of work
    once their names were mentioned.
  • A publication entitled Red Channels began to
    circulate. Red Channels identified all the most
    recently identified communists in Hollywood.

9
Arthur Miller/Elia Kazan
  • Arthur Miller was troubled by the Hollywood
    Blacklist and his friend Elia Kazans decision to
    testify in front of HUAC and name fellow party
    members.
  • Kazan agreed in 1952 to testify a second time,
    and this was enough to sever his friendship with
    Miller.
  • Miller, greatly troubled by the current state of
    government in Hollywood, travelled to the east
    coast, where he got the idea to align the
    Blacklist with the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

10
The Crucible
  • The Crucible is an allegory for the 1950s
    politics in Hollywood and the investigations of
    HUAC.
  • The play was met with mixed reviews.
  • The actress who played Elizabeth Proctor at its
    premier was blacklisted immediately.

11
Miller Appears Before HUAC
  • When Arthur Miller applied for a passport in
    1956, HUAC used this as a reason to subpoena him.
  • He appeared before the committee, but would not
    give any information and was found in contempt.
    This was reversed in appeals court.

12
The Resolution
  • In the end, Miller and Kazan reconciled with the
    help of Marilyn Monroe, Millers then wife and
    Kazans previous girlfriend.
  • They eventually worked together as a
    writing/directing team again on a collaborative
    piece entitled After the Fall.
  • In 1999, Kazan was awarded the lifetime
    achievement Oscar for his years of work in
    Hollywood. Some opposed his award, saying he was
    only able to keeping working at the expense of
    those he named in front of HUAC.
  • Despite his feelings about Kazans testimony,
    Miller supported Kazan receiving the Oscar.

13
Links
  • He may be a communist
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vAWeZ5SKXvj8feature
    related
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vanNEJJYLU8Mfeature
    related
  •  
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?v5N3WJXK2PAMfeature
    related
  •  http//www.youtube.com/watch?vFQQaX2h1plo
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