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William WylerThe Life and Films of Hollywood's Most Celebrated Director$
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Gabriel Miller

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813142098

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813142098.001.0001

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The House Un-American Activities Committee

The House Un-American Activities Committee

Detective Story (1951), Roman Holiday (1953), The Desperate Hours (1955), The Children's Hour (1961)

(p.297) 14 The House Un-American Activities Committee
William Wyler

Gabriel Miller

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter details Wyler's involvement in political activities that were organized to protest HUAC's influence over the content of motion pictures and its blacklisting of film artists accused of being subversive. Along with three others, he co-founded The Committee for the First Amendment, which sent a delegation to Washington, D.C. There is also a detailed accounting of government activity against Wyler and of his attempts to clear his reputation with Paramount. The chapter also provides production histories of three films made by Wyler that deal, directly or indirectly, with that political situation: Detective Story, based on a play by Sidney Kingsley, which deals with a fascistic police officer; The Desperate Hours, based on a best-selling novel, which stars Humphrey Bogart and Frederic March; and Wyler's remake of The Children's Hour, which centers on the persecution of two teachers fueled by the accusations of a child. Also touched on is Roman Holiday, which was written by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (whose name was removed from the film but restored after his death).

Keywords:   HUAC, Committee for the First Amendment, Detective Story, Sidney Kingsley, The Desperate Hours, Humphrey Bogart, Frederic March, The Children's Hour, Roman Holiday

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