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Hollywood Exiles in Europe

The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture

by Rebecca Prime

Publication Year: 2014

Rebecca Prime documents the untold story of the American directors, screenwriters, and actors who exiled themselves to Europe as a result of the Hollywood blacklist. During the 1950s and 1960s, these Hollywood émigrés directed, wrote, or starred in almost one hundred European productions, their contributions ranging from crime film masterpieces like Du rififi chez les hommes (1955, Jules Dassin, director) to international blockbusters like The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, screenwriters) and acclaimed art films like The Servant (1963, Joseph Losey, director).At once a lively portrait of a lesser-known American “lost generation” and an examination of an important transitional moment in European cinema, the book offers a compelling argument for the significance of the blacklisted émigrés to our understanding of postwar American and European cinema and Cold War relations. Prime provides detailed accounts of the production and reception of their European films that clarify the ambivalence with which Hollywood was regarded within postwar European culture. Drawing upon extensive archival research, including previously classified material, Hollywood Exiles in Europe suggests the need to rethink our understanding of the Hollywood blacklist as a purely domestic phenomenon. By shedding new light on European cinema’s changing relationship with Hollywood, the book illuminates the postwar shift from national to transnational cinema.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: New Directions in International Studies

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

This book has benefitted from the assistance of many individuals and institutions over the long years of its making. At UCLA I had the good fortune to discuss different aspects of my research with Steve Mamber, Steve Ricci, Dominic Thomas, and Peter Wollen. Vivian Sobchack was instrumental in guiding the book’s development and has remained a source of support and inspiration. I am also very grateful for the...

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pp. 1-11

This book owes its existence to a chance meeting. On a spring afternoon in Paris, I bumped into an acquaintance from New York who invited me to join her at her favorite tea room, nearby on the rue Royale. Over rainbow-colored macarons, I listened as Suzo Barzman, daughter of the blacklisted screenwriters and Hollywood exiles Ben and Norma Barzman, recounted her...

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1. The Radical Community in Hollywood

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pp. 12-34

Hollywood in the 1940s was still a relatively small community, with roughly 50,000 people employed by the film industry.1 During the tumultuous course of the 1930s—marked by the Depression, the struggles of the talent guilds for recognition, and the enthusiastic embrace of antifascist causes—it had also become a highly politicized community that supported a remarkable number...

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2. Life on the Blacklist: Production andPolitics in Postwar Europe

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pp. 35-58

By December 1954, Joseph Losey had been away from Hollywood for more than three years. On tour in Dublin, he evokes the weight of his exile in a letter to Ring Lardner Jr.: “I have had a rather tough few months with a play which I am afraid is not worth the trouble. It is making money on the road. I am dubious about it for London. In all other respects, the struggle goes on—only...

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3. The Blacklist and “Runaway” Production

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pp. 59-82

In addition to the blacklisted exiles, Europe was awash with Hollywood expatriates during the postwar years. Some, such as the directors Lewis Milestone and Nicholas Ray and the screenwriter Howard Koch, had been “graylisted.”1 The graylist was the work of powerful red-baiting organizations such as the American Legion and a private firm called American Business Consultants...

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4. The Blacklist, Exile, and the Transatlantic Noir

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pp. 83-107

With the arrival of the blacklist in Hollywood, many members of the radical community found themselves living under conditions not dissimilar to those of the alienated, persecuted protagonists of the film noirs they wrote or directed. While writing the script for Joseph Losey’s film The Big Night (1951), Losey and Hugo Butler moved from one remote motel to another, like noir characters, in...

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5. Cosmopolitan Visions, Cold War Fears

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pp. 108-129

This “humble observer,” the New York Times’ long-standing film critic Bosley Crowther, called belated attention to the film industry’s new European focus in a series of dispatches filed during his travels in Europe in June 1960. Noting that of “thirty-one films being made by American companies last week, eleven of them were being shot in foreign locations and studios,” he concluded, “As...

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6. Blacklisted Directors, Art Cinema, and the Capricesof Film Criticism

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pp. 130-157

Emerging in tandem with the international co-production and “cosmopolitan” film was another filmmaking trend that played a significant role in shifting attention away from Hollywood. The rise of the European art film—both as a mode of film practice and an institution, to combine David Bordwell’s and Steve Neale’s well-known definitions—presented a distinct challenge to...

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7. The Legacy of the Blacklist

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pp. 158-172

Predicting the end of the blacklist was, not surprisingly, a favorite pastime of the blacklisted. On a trip to Europe during the summer of 1958, Adrian Scott advised his exiled friends that by his estimation, the blacklist would be dead within a year.1 Six months later, Paul Jarrico echoed Scott’s sentiments in a letter to the Czech director Jirí Weiss. Noting recent signs of...

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pp. 173-182

Lee Gold’s elegiac tone in this letter to Paul Jarrico from September 1964 gives a sense of the losses their formerly “tight little Paris colony” had suffered in the preceding years.1 The Wilsons had decamped to Ojai, California, that summer; the Barzmans were living full-time in Provence; John Berry had spent much of the year in New York directing for stage and television; and Jules Dassin...


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pp. 183-230

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 231-238


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pp. 239-258

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About the Author

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Rebecca Prime is the Libman Professor of the Humanities and an assistant professor of art at Hood College, where she directs the Center for the Humanities. Her work on international film...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813562636
E-ISBN-10: 0813562635
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813562629
Print-ISBN-10: 0813562627

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 23 photos
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: New Directions in International Studies
Series Editor Byline: Patrice Petro, Center for International Education See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 865334514
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hollywood Exiles in Europe

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Subject Headings

  • Blacklisting of authors -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Blacklisting of entertainers -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Motion picture industry -- Political aspects -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- 20th century.
  • Motion picture industry -- Political aspects -- Europe -- History -- 20th century.
  • Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Expatriate motion picture producers and directors -- Europe -- History -- 20th century.
  • Cold War -- Influence.
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