The best movies about the blacklist were made during the blacklist, but such was the reign of terror that filmmakers could only criticize red-baiting through metaphor. Here are five views of witch-hunting — all A’s — available on video.
In a Lonely Place (1950)
Wrongly suspected of murder (read: communism), writer Humphrey Bogart finds the town turning against him in Nicholas Ray’s moody thriller.
High Noon (1952)
Appalled at the Hollywood shunned blacklist victims, Carl Foreman wrote a Western about a sheriff (Gary Cooper) deserted by cowardly townspeople. By the time it reached theaters, Foreman himself was blacklisted.
Johnny Guitar (1954)
Nicholas Ray again. A lunatic Western in which saloon queen Joan Crawford — in a screaming red outfit, yet — faces down a reactionary lynch mob.
On the Waterfront (1954)
Because screenwriter Budd Schulberg and director Elia Kazan had nameddockside drama has been viewed as a defense of informers.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Alien pod people replace the nice Americans of Santa Mira. The studio softened the original ending (the hero stares into the camera and shrieks, ”You’re next!”) with a less provocative wrap-up.