Hollywood Blacklistees in Europe

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor

Hollywood Blacklistees in Europe at HOME Manchester, Manchester 14 — 31 May 2022 Tickets from £7.50 — Book now

In the early days of the Cold War, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, anti-communist sentiment and fear of foreign subversives led to a purge on Hollywood figures. Driven by the rhetoric of Joseph McCarthy and policed by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, witch hunts targeted those deemed to have communist sympathies, or those who refused to cooperate and turn against their peers.

A blacklist drove hundreds of film artists out of Hollywood, with actors, writers and directors either forced to move abroad, work underground or under pseudonyms – deferring credit for some of the most distinctive films coming out of America. Many of these creatives worked as exiles in Europe, continuing to engage with the same issues of inequality and social justice that put them on the blacklist.

This May, HOME presents a season of film curated by Andy Willis, Professor of Film Studies at the University of Salford and HOME’s Senior Visiting Curator: Film, which surveys the breadth of work produced by these blacklistees. Opening with an hour long introductory talk, Willis will provide introductions to a range of films bookended by two Jules Dassin’s atmospheric, desperate, street-level crime flicks in Night and the City (Sat 14 May) and Riffifi (Tue 31 May).

Many of these creatives worked as exiles in Europe, continuing to engage with the same issues of inequality and social justice

There are British epics in the form of blacklistee Cy Enfield’s prickly Zulu (Sun 22 May) and David Lean’s classic Bridge on the River Kwai (Sun 29 May) – written by blacklisted pair Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, who were not originally credited for their contribution. Meanwhile, old school horror comes courtesy of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in 1972’s Horror Express. Directed by Eugenio Martin, the film was produced by blacklisted screenwriter Bernard Gordon and scripted by fellow exiles Arnaud d’Usseau and Julian Zimet.

On Tuesday 24 May, there’s a screening of Time Without Pity, a dark, stylised British Noir following a recovering alcoholic and his attempt to save his son from hanging for murder, the film marked the first time that director Joseph Losey could use his own name in the credits following his blacklisting. Lastly, the season also includes Spanish rarity Calle Mayor (Thu 19 May), starring blacklistee Betsy Blair – excitingly, this socially conscious drama screens from a 35mm print.

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Where to go near Hollywood Blacklistees in Europe

Indian Tiffin Room, Manchester

Indian Tiffin Room is a restaurant specialising in Indian street food, with branches in Cheadle and Manchester. This is the information for the Manchester venue.

The Ritz Manchester live music venue
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The Ritz was originally a dance hall, built in 1928, has hosted The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Smiths and is still going strong as a gig venue now.

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Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

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Burgess Cafe Bar

Small but perfectly-formed café – which also serves as the in-house bookstore, stocking all manner of Burgess-related works, along with recordings of his music. It’s a welcoming space, with huge glass windows making for a bright, welcoming atmosphere.

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This huge three-floor pub, formerly a Victorian warehouse, then an umbrella factory (hence the name), has one of the city centre’s largest beer gardens. The two-tier terrace overlooks the Rochdale canal and what used to be the back of the Hacienda, providing an unusual, historic view of the city.

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The Briton’s Protection

Standing on the corner of a junction opposite The Bridgewater Hall, The Briton’s Protection is Manchester’s oldest pub. It has occupied the same spot since 1795, going under the equally patriotic name The Ancient Britain.

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