Wednesday February 03, 2016
Worst Movie Critics Ever: The FBI Notes on Anti-American Movies of the 1940s and '50s
Red propaganda. Obviously.
At the end of “J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies: The FBI and the Origins of Hollywood's Cold War” (recommended), author John Sbardellati includes a glossary of movies that the FBI tagged as suspect. It's a lot of fun. Some highlights:
- “Buck Privates Come Home” (1947), starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello: “One scene portrays a party given for a General, while other scenes reflect an enlisted man on KP duty, making the audience unnecessarily class conscious.”
- “Crossfire” (1947), directed by Edward Dmytryk: “This picture is a good example of placing over-emphasis on the racial problem.”
- Gentlemen's Agreement“ (1947), directed by Elia Kazan; starring Gregory Peck and John Garfield: ”A Police Lieutenant is a party to anti-Semitism and as such is subjected to much criticism.... This was a deliberate effort to discredit law enforcement.“
- ”The Marrying Kind“ (1952), directed by George Cukor; screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin; starring Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray: ”The [Counterattack] article reflected that pickets led by Catholic war veterans would protest [Judy Holliday‘s] appearance in this picture because of her impressive front record which included affiliations with such organizations as the Civil Rights Congress, the Council of African Affairs, the National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions and many others.“
- ”Mr. Smith Goes to Washington“ (1939), directed by Frank Capra; starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Claude Rains: ”First Hollywood movie to show tie-up between Congressman and Big Business.“
- ”State of the Union“ (1948), directed by Frank Capra; starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn: ”Seems to be a deep seated dislike for most of the things America is and stands for.“
- ”The Treasure of the Sierra Madre“ (1948), directed by John Huston; starring Humphrey Bogart: ”Walter Huston makes a speech in this picture which ... is practically a direct quotation from Marx’s ‘Das Kapital.’“
- ”It's a Wonderful Life“ (1947), directed by Frank Capra; starring James Stewart: ”The picture represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers."