Hollywood on Trial

Watch Hollywood on Trial

  • NR
  • 1976
  • 1 hr 45 min
  • 7.3  (242)

Hollywood on Trial is a documentary film that delves into the intricacies of the infamous Hollywood blacklist and its impact on people's lives. Released in 1976, the film is a gripping exposé of one of the darkest eras in the history of American cinema, shedding light on the political forces that shaped the entertainment industry.

The film features interviews with some of the most prominent figures in Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s, including the likes of Walter Bernstein, Alvah Bessie, and Lester Cole, who were all part of the Hollywood Ten - a group of ten film writers who were accused of communist sympathies and later blacklisted by the industry. Each of them shares their story of being investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and being forced to testify before the committee about their political beliefs.

The film takes us through the events leading up to the Hollywood blacklist, including the rise of McCarthyism and the paranoia that gripped the country during the Cold War. It shows how the media helped propagate the fear of communism and how the government used this fear to impose its will on the entertainment industry.

We see how the Hollywood Ten refused to cooperate with the HUAC and were subsequently charged with contempt of Congress. They were all convicted and sentenced to prison, and were unable to find work in the industry for years thereafter. The film also highlights the stories of other people who were blacklisted, including actors, directors, and producers, who saw their careers destroyed overnight simply because of their political views.

Through a series of interviews, the film explores the impact of the blacklist on people's lives, including the emotional toll it took on their families and loved ones. It shows how many people were forced to change their identities or move to other countries to escape the discrimination and persecution they faced in the US.

One of the standout moments of the film is when Walter Bernstein, one of the Hollywood Ten, talks about how the experience shaped his life and career. He describes the fear he felt during the investigation and the anger he felt towards his accusers. He also explains how he wrote his most famous screenplay - The Front - while still blacklisted, using a front writer to submit his work to the studios. The film went on to become a critical and commercial success and helped to vindicate him and others blacklisted for their political beliefs.

The documentary is well-crafted, with newsreel footage and archive material that succinctly captures the zeitgeist of the era. The filmmakers have a keen eye for detail and have managed to seamlessly weave together various elements to create a powerful and moving narrative.

Overall, Hollywood on Trial is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of American cinema and the impact of politics on the entertainment industry. It highlights the dangers of censorship and the importance of free speech in a democratic society. Although it deals with a dark period in history, the film ultimately celebrates the resilience and tenacity of those who refused to give up on their principles, even in the face of institutional oppression.

Hollywood on Trial is a 1976 history movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.

Where to Watch Hollywood on Trial
Hollywood on Trial is available to watch free on Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Hollywood on Trial for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 45 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (242)