Before seeing this film, I only knew a little about Dalton Trumbo. For the most part, all I knew was that I really liked reading Johnny Got His Gun fifteen years ago.
But, man, he was a badass. He was blacklisted for years and sent to jail for refusing to testify during the Communist witch hunts of the early 50's. He even toyed with the interrogators in Congress during the proceedings. He wrote many films over the years but most of them were not attributed to him. Two which were were 1949's Gun Crazy and 1960's Spartacus. Two that were not were 1953's Roman Holiday and 1956's The Brave One for which he won an Oscar which he could not claim. The whole I am Spartacus scene clearly was inspired by his experience on the blacklist and is a bit of wishful thinking. Take that Kazan!
The film reminded me of a bit of the doc about Hunter S. Thompson as well as Nanking in its use of actors to read dialogue from letters and journals. However, for some reason I was more into the readings in that film than I was in this one. They seemed a bit too showy for me in this one. That is except for the ones by David Strathairn. I love that guy.
The old interview footage of Trumbo is great though.
Directed by Peter Askin
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