Friday, May 24, 2013
This program is adapted from his son Christopher's 2003 play and based on the remarkable letters Dalton Trumbo wrote during the devastation wrought by the "Red Scare" in the mid-20th century. With credits for Kitty Foyle and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo to his name -- and the anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun -- the young Trumbo was one of the highest paid Hollywood writers. Refusing to testify before the HUAC in '47, he was part of the group known as the Hollywood Ten; convicted for contempt, he spent 11 months in federal prison and lost all right to ply his craft. Writing 30 scripts under pseudonyms -- he won an Oscar in '56 for The Brave One as Robert Reich -- he was not recognized publicly again until 1960, when Otto Preminger credited him on Exodus and Kirk Douglas did so on Spartacus -- actions considered to mark the end of the blacklist. As late as 1993, Trumbo was awarded a posthumous Acadamy Award for Roman Holiday ('53).
Friday, May 31, 2013
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women
The author of "Little Women" is an almost universally recognized name. Her reputation as a morally upstanding New England spinster, reflecting the conventional propriety of late 19th-century Concord, is firmly established. However, raised among reformers and Transcendentalists and skeptics, the intellectual protege of Emerson and Hawthorne and Thoreau, Alcott was actually a free thinker with democratic ideals and progressive values about women -- a worldly careerist of sorts. Most surprising is that she led, under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard, a literary double life, undiscovered until the 1940s. As Barnard, Alcott penned scandalous, sensational works with characters running the gamut from murderers and revolutionaries to cross-dressers and opium addicts -- a far cry from her familiar fatherly mentors, courageous mothers and appropriately impish children.