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Ron Reed

Left-Wing Films

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We haven't mentioned a couple obvious ones: Che! and The Motorcycle Diaries. Edited by Darrel Manson

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I don't know about actual American communist films, though.

I'm curious: has anyone seen any of the films by/associated with the Hollywood Ten? I'd be interested to see if they actually are "communist movies."

I've seen quite a few, and of the ones I've seen I don't think you they are intended to advance any sort of communist agenda. A lot of the films associated with the Hollywood Ten are subversive, but more because they subtly attack all aspects of the "american dream" than because of any communsit enthusiasm. The best noir from that era painted such a delicously bleak view of society that finding hope in communism or any other system seems a bit of a stretch. Edward Dmytryk is an amazing director, and as much as I would have liked to see him defy the bastards at HUAC, I'm glad he returned as "friendly" witness to make more movies in '51.

Some of my favourite noir was connected with the Hollywood Ten in some way:

The Naked City

Cloak and Dagger

Crossfire

Murder, My Sweey

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By the way, has anyone read Ray Carney's book on Capra American Vision? I don't always agree with Carney, but he really has some great insights on Capra that reveal him to be much more than a one-dimensional "flag-waiver."

There's an excerpt here on It's a Wonderful Life.

edit: I just noticed that Doug C mentioned Peter Watkins' La Commune, which is one of the most powerful politically themed movies I've ever seen. In fact, all of Watkins' work is brilliant...Punishment Park (available on a beautiful dvd from Masters of Cinema) is another one that would fit very well with the theme of this thread. You can go here to get a better sense of his challenging social and political ideas.

Edited by jord

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Darren and Darrel mentioned most of what I'd come up with. One that nobody has mentioned that is not Left exactly, so much as Eugene McCarthyite populist leftism is The Candidate with Robert Redford as an upstart taking on an establishment incumbent senator.

The Parallax View is an anti-establishment paranoid story in the vein of Manchurian Candidate and The Conversation.

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Has anyone yet mentioned that marvelous tirade by Matt Damon's character is Good Will Hunting? Where he extrapolates working for the N.S.A. as a code-breaker into the equivalent of being responsible for mass murder? Where he says, "I guess I'll just eliminate the middleman [i.e. the government]. Why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard?"

Probably not a left-wing film on the whole, just an interesting sign of the (debatable) shift towards typical left-wing thinking in mainstream Hollywood productions.

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