Red Hollywood

Synopsis: A documentary that examines the films made by the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist and offers a radically difference perspective on a key period in the history of American cinema.
Production: Cinema Guild
Rotten Tomatoes:
118 min


You're only a boy.

We don't want to hurt you.

The truth, son,

that's all we want.

Just tell us she was

one of you, Turkey,

and you'll go free.

You better talk, boy,

you better talk.



What should I do?

I don't want to die.

What do I do?

Save yourself.

What'll you do to her?

The law will take

its course.

Was Vienna one of you?

Well, was she?



This is the hearing room

of the House of

Representatives Committee

on Un-American Activities.

We the citizens of

the United States of America

owe these, our elected

representatives, a great debt.

Undaunted by the vicious

campaign of slander

launched against them

as a whole

and as individuals,

they have staunchly continued

their investigation,

pursuing their

stated belief

that anyone who continued

to be a Communist after 1945

is guilty of high treason.

Are you now or have you

ever been a member

of the Communist Party?

In framing my answer

to that question,

I must emphasize the points

that I have raised before.

The question of communism

is in no way related

to this inquiry,

which is an attempt

to get control

of the screen and to

invade the basic rights

of American citizens

in all fields.

Mr. Chairman,

Mr. Chairman...

The question here relates

not only to the question

of my membership in any

political organization,

but this committee

is attempting to

establish the right...


...which is historically

denied to any committee

of this sort,

to invade the rights

and privileges

and immunities

of American citizens,

whether they be

Protestant, or Methodist,

or Jewish, or Catholic...

Mr. Lawson...

...whether they be


or Democrats

or anything else.

Now you refuse to

answer that question?

Is that correct?

I have told you that

I will offer my beliefs,

my affiliations,

and everything else

Excuse the witness.

to the American public,

and they will know

where I stand

as they do from

what I have written.

Stand away

from the stand.

I have written


for many years...

Stand away

from the stand!

and I shall continue

to fight for

the Bill of Rights,

which you are trying

to destroy.


Officers, take this man

away from the stand.


American Anti-Communism

was a know-nothing creed

and sometimes proud of it.

John Wayne and his

right-wing Hollywood allies

might rail against Commies,

recklessly accusing

them of treason.

But to prove

they had subverted

the motion picture industry,

the House Committee

had to recruit a witness

who was, in a literal sense,


a refugee from

Communist tyranny.

She took as her text

a vehicle for Robert Taylor,

a wartime hymn to

America's brave Soviet ally.


Can't get over it.


Well, everybody

seems to be having

such a good time.

Well, is that wrong?

No, except that I always

thought Russians were sad,

melancholy people,

you know, sitting around

brooding about

their souls.

This is such a surprise.

You're a surprise, too.

I am?

Well, if I didn't know

that I'd met you in Moscow,

you might be

an American girl.


"Communist propaganda

is anything which gives

"a good impression

of Communism

as a way of life.

"Anything that sells people

the idea that life

in Russia is good

"and that people are free

and happy would be

Communist propaganda.

"Am I not correct?

"Now, here is the life

in the Soviet village

"as presented

in Song of Russia.

"You see the happy peasants.

"You see the manicured

starlets driving tractors

"and the happy women

who come from work singing.


"Incidentally, I have

never seen so much

smiling in my life,

"except on the murals

of the World's Fair

pavilion of the Soviet.

"It is one of the stock

propaganda tricks

of the Communists,

"to show these people smiling.

"That is all they can show."

So here we are,

uh, two years

after the war ends,

and, uh...


Louis B. Mayer

is apologizing

to the committee

for having made it.

And Robert Taylor

is apologizing

to the committee

for having starred in it.

And, uh...

And Ayn Rand is saying

it was a false picture

from beginning to end

because it showed

Russians smiling

and everybody knows that

Russians don't smile.

Well, the fact is,

it was not

a totally honest picture,

it was designed

as war propaganda.

Uh, it did have a

rosy view of the Russians,

including a lot of

expressions of how

grateful they are

to the United States

for aid and for

providing tractors.

And, uh, the tractor's

the best tractor

in the world

because it comes

from the United States.

I mean, there was

a lot of fake

pro-American stuff

in the-the film too.


It was a direct


of what was going on

at the time.

And it was meant

to reinforce the notion

that we have an ally,

an ally that's, uh, uh...

making enormous sacrifices

in human life,

and we're all

in this together

in the fight

against fascism.


Although, he couldn't make

his case in 1947,

Jarrico won

the argument by default.

Everyone knew that

Song of Russia

was simply a relic

from an improbable

but necessary alliance,

and Rand failed

to convince most people

that Communists

had subverted the movies.

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Thom Andersen

Thom Andersen (born 1943 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American filmmaker, film critic and teacher. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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