During the anti-communist movements of the 1940s, ten prominent members of the Hollywood film industry denounced the methods used by the House Un-American Activities Commission (HUAC) during its investigation of communist influence in American films. As a result, they were imprisoned and blacklisted, banned from working in major Hollywood studios. These directors and screenwriters came to be known as the Hollywood Ten.
The House Un-American Activities Commission launched their investigation into Hollywood in 1947. More than 40 film industry workers were called into courtrooms to be interrogated about their current or past communist connections. Most complied with their interrogations, or simply cited their Fifth Amendment rights so as not to damage their reputations. The Hollywood Ten, however, openly challenged the legitimacy of the investigation.
The Hollywood Ten at the District Building
In 1947, Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Robert Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo were tried in contempt of Congress, and found guilty. They were sentenced to a year in prison, and fined $1000 each. Their appeal attempts were unsuccessful.
Activists Protesting the Sentencing of The Hollywood Ten
Dunbar, David L. "The Hollywood Ten: The Men Who Refused to Name Names." The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Nov. 2015, www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/hollywood-ten-men-who-refused-839762/item/alvah-bessie-1904-1985-839779. Accessed 2 May 2017.
"Hollywood Ten." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Encylopaedia Britannica, 20 July 1998, www.britannica.com/topic/Hollywood-Ten. Accessed 2 May 2017.
"Hollywood Ten." History.com, A+E Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/cold-war/hollywood-ten. Accessed 2 May 2017.