RECEIVED Thu., Jan. 14, 2016
I am visiting the Austin area.
After reading the Chronicle's brief review of the movie Trumbo [Film Reviews, Nov. 20, 2015], I decided to see it at the Regal Arbor 8 at Great Hills. Apparently Trumbo isn't being shown too widely.
I agree with your criticism that many personalities should not have been merged into one.
However, many people after seeing the movie will not completely understand the times and circumstances beyond how Dalton Trumbo's own life was affected. Nor should we be lulled into believing that anti-Communism is something from a bygone era as the FBI and state and local police still clandestinely operate "Red Squads" intended to deprive people of their constitutionally protected rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association.
Perhaps it is too much to expect from Hollywood to make a movie dealing with all facets of McCarthyism.
How many people know that it was the great "liberal" Hubert H. Humphrey who authored the Communist Control Act? This history is omitted from Trumbo.
Also, the producers of the movie took a lot for granted. Like in showing Trumbo's daughter reading the newspaper, The Daily Worker. How many people seeing the movie caught the name of the paper? How many of today's moviegoers will know that this was the Communist Party's publication put out of business as a very popular daily paper by the most aggressive government political repression?
There is another story to be told, also. That of the thousands of workers who lost their jobs because they refused to buckle under to the anti-Communist witch hunts; workers who were deprived of jobs and their income who had nothing to fall back on as Trumbo did. These blacklisted workers, most quite poor to begin with, faced a lifetime of poverty; not just a few years of unemployment.
One interesting topic the movie did not address is why Trumbo (and Howard Fast) left the Communist Party. Fast wrote two books on the subject; did Dalton Trumbo ever provide his reason/s?
To be certain, Trumbo and his colleagues, the Hollywood Ten, were very courageous, and we appreciate them for their part in the struggle to defend democracy from Wall Street's anti-Communist attacks; the primary victim being the entire working class.
Anti-Communism has always been the refuge of scoundrels, union busters, racists, and warmongers.
All in all, I found Trumbo a fantastic movie. I would encourage others to see it; and talk about it – if they don't fear government repression here in the world's greatest bastion of democracy.
See trailer for Trumbo: https://www.google.com/search?q=trumbo+trailer&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8