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The Final Victim of the BlacklistJohn Howard Lawson, Dean of the Hollywood Ten$
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Gerald Horne

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520243729

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520243729.001.0001

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Theory and Practice

Theory and Practice

(p.98) 6 Theory and Practice
The Final Victim of the Blacklist

Gerald Horne

University of California Press

John Howard Lawson's initial “blacklisting” came in the 1930s with the organizing of the Screen Writers Guild, though the intervention of courageous producers like Walter Wanger and conditions at that point that were not favorable to ostracizing of leftwingers precluded his being totally banished. Lawson's interest in the literature of revolution had not dulled his taste for the good life. Lawson's formal affiliation with the Communist Party seems to have emboldened him as a theorist. The political pressure inexorably impinged on Lawson's creativity as a screenwriter. Blockade was seen as celluloid dynamite by its more unforgiving critics. The experience with Blockade had taught him that expecting to produce radicalism on celluloid consistently was wildly naive. After Blockade, Lawson would attempt to implement his ambitious cinematic vision, but his equally and fiercely held political commitments would complicate enormously his creative compulsions.

Keywords:   John Howard Lawson, blacklisting, Screen Writers Guild, Communist Party, screenwriter, Blockade, Walter Wanger, theorist

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