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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

Hollywood On Trial

Fortnight 1976, Feature film, 1h45


Washington Bureau preparing report on spy probe.
August 26, 1948, Washington, DC : The House Committee on Unamerican Activities announced that it cill issue a report on its progress in the Communist probe. Looking over the vast amount of material gathered during its hearings are : Richard M. Nixon, Robert Stripling, chief investigator, and chairman J. Parnell.
« Its strange, when we were in California shooting « Hollywood on Trial », I turned on the TV to watch the news and there was cameraman Haskell Wexler who had won an Oscar for filming « Virgina Woolf » and documentary filmmaker Emile d’Antonio. They had just been subpoenaed by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury to give information about a film they were making on the Welther Underground ». I mean, here we are in 1975 making a film about events that took place 25 years ago, and here are those two filmmakers in similar situations to those people we were making our film about. Before I turned on the news that night, I was wondering if « Hollywood on Trial » was really relevant at that time. Now it’s very clear to me that it is. »
Extracts from an interview with David Helpern Jr in the « Boston Globe », Dec. 23, 1975


David Helpern Jr.

Born in 1948, Davis Helpern worked for several cinema magazines ; he co-writ Joan Silver’s « Fun while it lasted ». Following « I’m a Stranger Here Myself » (1975), « Hollywood on Trial » is his second feature film.

Albert Maltz
Alvash Bessie
Ben Margolis
Dalton Trumbo
Dore Shary
Edward Dmytryk
Gale Sondergaard
Howard Da Silva
Leo Townsend
Lester Cole
Martin Ritt
Millard Lampell
Otto Preminger
Ring Lardner Jr
Ronald Reagan
Walter Berstein
William Wheeler
Zero Mostel

Arnie Reisman

Barry Abrams

Frank Galvin

Production : OCTOBER FILMS (James C. Gutman)