"Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" That question was asked repeatedly during the anti-Communist investigations of the House Committee on un-American Activities (HUAC) in the early 1950s. When ten members of the film industry refused to answer, they were blacklisted and fired. Scores of actors, writers, and directors shared a similar fate, labelled as Communists or sympathizers.
Hollywood's Blacklists explains why and how various investigations of Hollywood took place. It describes the nature and members of HUAC, the role films played during World War II and the Cold War, and the values at stake in the confrontation between the Left and the Right that left the former so resoundingly expelled from Hollywood. Reynold Humphries investigates the motives of various players and the tactics deployed by HUAC to reward collaboration and punish dissent.