Once-Banned Film To Be Shown Here
“Salt of the Earth” was made in 1954 during the black list frenzy. The House UnAmerican Activities Committee and the FBI ruled Hollywood, and they didn’t want this film made, much less seen.
It will be screened in Santa Monica on Friday, February 1, at 7 p.m. by
Shot on location in New Mexico, the film focuses on the plight of the Mexican-Americans who worked for the company that owned the town and the mine in which they labored.
The workers strike to protest their dangerous working conditions and low wages, and are assaulted by company thugs and sheriff’s deputies. The wives and mothers of the striking workers take over the picket line in a final demand for justice.
Mirroring the style of the post-war Italian new-realize, “Salt Of The Earth” was written by Michael Wilson, who was blacklisted, and directed by Herbert Biberman, one of the “Hollywood Ten” who were jailed for refusing to cooperate with Congressional inquiries, and blacklisted and harassed by FBI agents after they were released from prison. The most notable Hollywood actor in the film is Will Geer, a proud radical who lived in Topanga and was the godfather of the Theatricum Botanicum, which his family now runs. Ironically, Geer is best-known for his role as Grandpa on “The Waltons.”
Most of the cast members were the mine workers and their families.
It is said that “Salt of the Earth” is the only film ever to be blacklisted in American film in history, But in 1992, it was placed on the National Film Registry, Library of Congress.
“One of the Hollywood Ten,” a feature film about Biberman, his battle with the government and the struggle to make the movie was released in 2000.
A 30-minute discussion will follow the film.
The screening will be held at the home of Rachel Sene and Jay Johnson at 601 9th Street, Santa Monica, one block east of Lincoln,
RSVP : RachelJay@earthlink.net or call 310-451-2752 (first 20)
$5 donation for Change-Links
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The discussion will continue at Izzy’s Deli, 15th and Wilshire, Santa Monica.