On the Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan and scripted by Budd Schulberg, is a classic American film, yet it also is an allegory of the Hollywood blacklist. Its content parallels the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) practice of calling witnesses, asking to testify if they were Communist Party members, and expecting them to "name names" of other guilty parties.
This illustrated lecture will examine the climate in America that led to HUAC's ascent to power and will offer examples of the kinds of films that HUAC felt were subtle communist propaganda. Kazan and Schulberg both were called before the committee, and chose to "name names." Did they do so because they honestly felt that the communist threat to America needed to be eradicated? Or did they simply wish to avoid being blacklisted?
New York Council for the Humanities Speakers in the Humanities Program. New York Council for the Humanities distributes federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington D.C.