assisting other countries in rebuilding after World War II, such as the Marshall Plan for Europe
Box Office Peak
attendance peaked at 80 to 90 million a week
record of $1.5 billion box office
today, only 25 million a week go with box office at about $10 billion
Box Office Decline
attendance dropped to 47 million, 1957
4000 theaters closed during those years
RKO ceased operations in 1957
Hollywood and the Red Scare
Early Investigations of Communist Infiltration
House Committee on Un-American Activities formed in 1937
Martin Dees, Texas
Samuel Dickstein, New York
led to Senate investigations in 1941 and 1943
US Chamber of Commerce
publishes report on Communist Infiltration In The US in 1945
alleges Communists trying to control entertainment and information media
claimed that Communists already infiltrated Screen Writers Guild
Chamber of Commerce president, Eric Johnston, succeeds Will Hays as head of MPPDA, 1946
HUAC and Hollywood
aided by Motion Picture Alliance for Preservation of American Ideals
right-wing personnel from Hollywood
testified publicly against their colleagues
HUAC pressured Eric Johnson
to dismiss all Communists in Hollywood
but Johnson initially refused, challenged public to boycott
wanted Johnson and Hollywood to set up blacklist
Hollywood Testifies Before HUAC
Twenty-three friendly testified for a variety of reasons
Jack Warner: “had never seen a Communist and wouldn’t know if I saw one”
Louis B. Mayer vowing MGM would never hire a communist
anger directed against unfriendly witnesses so that industry could survive
J. Parnell Thomas
head of HUAC in September 1947
subpoenaed 43 witnesses
trying to prove that Writers Guild of America was dominated by communists
In “Contempt of Congress"
October 1947, Parnell called 19 unfriendly witnesses
Ten were asked “are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?”
all refused to answer and charged with contempt of Congress and sent to jail
2 served prison terms for 6 months
8 served for a full year
Ring Lardner, Jr.
Waldorf Peace Pact
December 3, 1947: issued the “Waldorf Statement”
agreement between Hollywood studio executives
release the Hollywood Ten from jail
institute the Hollywood Blacklist, persisting throughout the late 1950s
Hollywood played it safe
Hollywood abandoned risqué, violent, comic and fantastic films
Members of the Association of Motion Picture Producers deplore the action of the 10 Hollywood men who have been cited for contempt by the House of Representatives. We do not desire to prejudge their legal rights, but their actions have been a disservice to their employers and have impaired their usefulness to the industry.
We will forthwith discharge or suspend without compensation those in our employ, and we will not re-employ any of the 10 until such time as he is acquitted or has purged himself of contempt and declares under oath that he is not a Communist.
On the broader issue of alleged subversive and disloyal elements in Hollywood, our members are likewise prepared to take positive action.
We will not knowingly employ a Communist or a member of any party or group which advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States by force or by any illegal or unconstitutional methods.
In pursuing this policy, we are not going to be swayed by hysteria or intimidation from any source. We are frank to recognize that such a policy involves danger and risks. There is the danger of hurting innocent people. There is the risk of creating an atmosphere of fear. Creative work at its best cannot be carried on in an atmosphere of fear. We will guard against this danger, this risk, this fear.
To this end we will invite the Hollywood talent guilds to work with us to eliminate any subversives: to protect the innocent; and to safeguard free speech and a free screen wherever threatened.
The absence of a national policy, established by Congress, with respect to the employment of Communists in private industry makes our task difficult. Ours is a nation of laws. We request Congress to enact legislation to assist American industry to rid itself of subversive, disloyal elements.
Nothing subversive or un-American has appeared on the screen, nor can any number of Hollywood investigations obscure the patriotic services of the 30,000 loyal Americans employed in Hollywood who have given our government invaluable aid to war and peace."
US vs. Paramount Pictures
charged Big 5 plus Little 3 of violating anti-trust laws
conspired to independents out of film market
Trust investigations began under National Recovery Administration, 1933
Federal government sued Paramount, July 1938
charged that vertically integration was in violation of Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890)
Consent Decree of 1940
studios had agreed to eliminate blind bidding
curtail new theater acquisition
Supreme Court Decision
US v. Paramount, Inc.
May 1948 SCOTUS decision
Compelled studios to divest of movie theaters
RKO & Paramount first to comply
declared Top 8 guilty of monopolistic practices in terms of first-run exhibition
discriminatory pricing/purchasing agreements
Big 5 had to get rid of theater chains
Top 8 had to stop block booking
Immediate Effects of Paramount Decision
independent theaters had better selections
studios could now make bigger films since they had greater exhibition access
studios now had to concentrate on fewer but more expensive films