UC Berkeley Library

Documentaries on the 1950's

Hollywood Ten (1951)

Directed by John Berry; produced by Paul Jarrico. A documentary about blacklisted writers and directors who defied the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947 and were imprisoned for contempt of Congress. Special features: History of the Hollywood blacklist; Congressional testimony of the blacklisted filmmakers. ; also a supplement on

How are the Mighty Fallen (Europe, the Mighty Continent; 11).

Discusses the post-World War II establishment of the Iron Curtain and the beginning of Cold War tensions which reached a climax with the 1948-49 Russian blockade of West Berlin. 52 min.

Inventing Television News (Dawn of the Eye)

At first no one knew quite what to do with television news until radio news veterans like Edward R. Murrow introduced controversial subjects and the public began watching in droves. The Senate anti-communist hearings conducted by Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s drew thousands to their TV sets each day. Political conventions in the U.S. entered prime time while Korean War correspondents covered American servicemen in Korea and Canadian journalism followed American television techniques in covering political campaigns. 1997. 47 min.

Johnny Got His Gun: Dalton Trumbo Interviewed by Larry Bensky. [sound recording]

Film director and writer Dalton Trumbo discusses his movie, the Attica uprising, & the days of McCarthyism and blacklisting in America. Originally broadcast on KPFA, September 20, 1971.

Joseph McCarthy Interview(Longines-Wittnauer Interviews)

Joseph McCarthy, the infamous United States senator from Wisconsin, was the guest on this episode of the Longines Chronoscope. He discusses his views on Communism, Stalin, and the Korean War. Senator McCarthy closes the interview by talking about the 1952 presidential campaign, his own reelection aspirations, and describing the utter importance of finding communists involved in U.S. governmental activities. 14 min.

Last Call at Maud's.

A look at the world's longest running lesbian bar, Maud's in San Francisco. Film interweaves rare archive film of the gay bar scene in the 1940's, the vice raids of the 1950's, the gay counter culture of the 1960's and "coming out" in the 1970's up until the bar closed its doors in 1989. 77 min. Reviews and articles: Elley, Derek. "Last Call at Maud's." (movie reviews) Variety v350, n7 (March 15, 1993):66. Holden, Stephen. "Last Call at Maud's." (movie reviews) New York Times v142 (Fri, March 19, 1993):C6(L), col 5, 11 col in. Leonardi, Patricia.

Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist.

Examines the long-term effects of the investigation of alleged communists activities in Hollywood by the HUAC. Also includes interviews with women whose husbands were blacklisted actors, writers, producers and directors. 60 min.
Reviews and articles:
Rothenberg, Robert S. "Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist." (video recording reviews) USA Today (Magazine) v123, n2596 (Jan, 1995):97.
Schrecker, Ellen W. "Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist." (video recording reviews) Journal of American History v75, n3 (Dec, 1988):1050.

Letter to Elia

Martin Scorsese directs and narrates this documentary look at film director Elia Kazan. Utilizing precisely chosen clips from Kazan's signature films and interview footage of the director himself, he recounts the director's tumultuous journey from the Group Theatre to the Hollywood A-list to his controversial naming of names during the HUAC hearings. 60 min.

McCarthy: Death of a Witch Hunter

A film by Emile de Antonio. Examines the man whose name has become synonymous with the blacklisting fervor of The Cold War through an overview of the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings. Includes excerpts from the television footage shot during the six weeks of hearings and an introduction by Paul Newman, who places the excerpts in historical perspective. 1964. 120 min.