Sunday, December 6, 2015

Trumbo: Monday, November 30 2015

This film, Trumbo, is about the Communist witch hunt in the States during the Cold War. McCarthy was in his heydays and many in the United States shared his ideological hysteria about Communism. Thousands of people had their lives ruined: tried and sentenced on little evidence, only suspicion. Among these people was Dalton Trumbo, a Hollywood screen writer, who was blacklisted in 1947. This is his story, and the story of the Blacklisted Ten. Blacklisting went on until 1960 until the hysteria subsided and people came to their senses. I found it sad to think that human beings will be so zealous, even in their love of country, as to cause so much unearned misery in the life of others.

The film is based on the biography Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Alexander Cook. Bryan Cranston plays Dalton Trumbo, and Helen Mirren plays Hedda Hopper, the gossip columnist. The acting is excellent, and the casting is perfect.

My friends enjoyed the film. I had mixed feelings as I found it such a sad commentary on human behaviour. I've never been an adherent to the idea of being a martyr for any religious or political ideology or idea. My philosophy is that it's better to run away, and live to fight another day. This means that I have little sympathy for Trumbo's stand on his right to not answer questions that might incriminate him, and therefore be in contempt of court. I also have no sympathy for McCarthy in what he thought of as his patriot duty to zealously persecute Communists and anyone even remotely connected with Communism. I also felt the shadow of J. Edgar Hoover in the background. I didn't find this a "feel good" film, in any way.

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