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Hollywood DividedThe 1950 Screen Directors Guild Meeting and the Impact of the Blacklist$
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Kevin Brianton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813168920

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813168920.001.0001

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The Myth of the Screen Directors Guild Meeting

The Myth of the Screen Directors Guild Meeting

(p.1) Introduction The Myth of the Screen Directors Guild Meeting
Hollywood Divided

Kevin Brianton

University Press of Kentucky

The SDG meeting of October 22, 1950, is a famous event in Hollywood history for all the wrong reasons. It is legendary because Cecil B. DeMille, John Ford, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, along with many other celebrated directors, played prominent roles. Even small anecdotes from the meeting, such as Ford declaring, “My name is John Ford. I make westerns,” have entered Hollywood folklore. The meeting was convened to discuss the forced recall of Mankiewicz as SDG president by its conservative board headed by DeMille. The catalyst for the recall was a debate about a loyalty oath for Guild members, which was also linked to a union-sanctioned blacklist. Mankiewicz apparently protested to the media about the way the SDG’s board was operating—in particular, its use of an open and signed ballot to push through the measure. In response to the attempted recall by DeMille and other conservatives, Mankiewicz and his supporters took legal action and called a general meeting to discuss the issue. Several hundred directors packed into the Beverley Hills Hotel on October 22, 1950, to do just that.

Keywords:   Cecil B. DeMille, John Ford, Joseph Mankiewicz, loyalty oath, blacklist, Screen Directors Guild

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