David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood Director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on...
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Robert De Niro,
David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood Director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and he is unable to work until cleared. Before being called, his highest priority had been his work to the extent of leaving his wife (Annette Bening) and son (Luke Edwards) alone for several months at a time. He initially refuses to implicate others or himself in a private meeting with Roy Cohn and a studio lawyer. This decision initially to stick to his principles first leaves him unable to work in his profession, even with films and producers he never would have worked with before. Harassment by the F.B.I. leaves him unable to work on Broadway, with advertising agencies, or even in a small film repair shop. Finally, having fallen so far, and tempted with a new offer to direct a film from his old studio (if he testifies), he agrees to go before the Committee, initially ...Written by
Mike Harris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Wikipedia website states: "Before the film was released, a fight broke out over the film's script clean-up, which happened between Director Irwin Winkler and former blacklisted writer Abraham Polonsky: through others, Polonsky learned Winkler changed the political convictions of the De Niro character. He resented the change-over. In the re-write, David Merrill was changed from a Communist Party member to a relatively apolitical Liberal. Winkler based his conception of Merrill on blacklisted Director John Berry, who would come back to Hollywood film, though it took time to get off the blacklist. Polonsky was so offended that Director Irwin Winkler changed the main character, that he not only had his name taken off of the picture, he also refused an Executive Producer credit that would have earned him a substantial fee." See more »
There is a Milwaukee Braves baseball pennant on the wall of Merrill's son's room. This film takes place in 1951 and 1952. The Braves didn't move to Milwaukee from Boston until 1953. See more »
I'm a filmmaker. That's all I am, I don't know what else to do. What the hell do they think I'm gonna do? Blow all the bridges if the Red Army comes invading Manhattan?
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Robert DeNiro will not give names to the House UnAmerican Activities committee. There goes his Hollywood career. His marriage to Ruth, Annette Bening, has already ended in divorce, so why not the rest of his life down the drain as well?
The film is very similar in nature to Woody Allen's "The Front" of the 1970s. If you've seen the latter, you know what the ending shall be. It's called principles above all.
Patricia Wettig gives a fine supporting performance as an actress turned in by her own husband with tragedy resulting.
Nice to see Martin Scorsese go in front of the cameras for this film. He is fleeing to England to escape testifying.
We get a wonderful sense of the 1950s in Hollywood. Marilyn Monroe is hot and so is this film.
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