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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Win Tickets to See Trumbo

Watch Bryan Cranston shine in this remarkable true story about one of the darkest periods in Hollywood history.
By Sarah Ward
March 03, 2016
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By Sarah Ward
March 03, 2016
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The most powerful companies in the world understand that power exists only insofar as the public continues to allow it, for without their buying power, these companies are nothing. The most famous and certainly most destructive example of this approach took place in the 1950s, when Hollywood’s major motion picture studios agreed to blacklist a group of their most successful screenwriters on account of their affiliation with the communist party. No crimes were committed, no treason alleged, yet these men were suddenly denied any ability to work in the industry to which they’d dedicated their lives and provided so many financial and critical accolades. Families struggled, many crumbled, and some of the blacklisted even died. And all of it because a few powerful conservatives including John Wayne and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (played here by Helen Mirren) deigned to call them ‘un-American’.

The best known of the so-called Hollywood Ten was screenwriting legend Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston), the highest paid writer in town and the scribe behind such hits as Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Kitty Foyle. When he refused to comply with the infamous hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Trumbo was immediately blacklisted and imprisoned, and soon realised the only way he’d be able to continue working was to write B-movies for a pittance under an assumed name. So began an extraordinary period in Hollywood’s history that ultimately resulted in not one, but two Academy Awards going to entirely fictitious writers. It's a story so fantastic it would seem to surpass the imagination of even the likes of Trumbo.

Trumbo tells a compelling tale. Led by a remarkable performance from Cranston, the extensive cast breathes much life into the story – and while it feels insufficiently told, the portrait of the man at its centre remains a moving one.

Published on March 03, 2016 by Sarah Ward

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