Hollywood Exiles

2. Red menace

Jan. 29, 2024

Dalton Trumbo’s career as a screenwriter blossoms just as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover makes Hollywood his focus for rooting out communism. Trumbo becomes active in the Screen Writers Guild, a harbour for radical politics. Charlie Chaplin makes influential friends on the political left. With his first talking film, The Great Dictator, Chaplin draws critical praise and unwanted attention with a rousing speech. Shifting alliances between Soviets and Nazis force an awkward political reckoning in the US. Host Oona Chaplin explores the FBI's covert operations which targeted alleged communists. We learn how Hollywood became the battleground for the soul of America.

From the BBC World Service and CBC Podcasts.


Interviews with Dalton Trumbo, UCLA Department of Communication Archive, 1972

G-Men trailer, directed by William Keighley, Warner Brothers 1935

Upton Sinclair interviewed by Joe Toyoshima, 1966

The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin, United Artists, 1940

Battle of the United States, J. Edgar Hoover, Army-Navy Screen Magazine, 1940

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