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Hollywood’s Friendly Witness: Elia Kazan

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Date(s) - Thursday, January 31st
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Jewish Museum Milwaukee

Jeff Smith, Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, will discuss director Elia Kazan‘s status as Hollywood’s most notorious “friendly witness.”

During his career, Kazan directed blockbuster films including A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden. By the time he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he had already won an Oscar for the controversial film Gentleman’s Agreement.

Although Kazan publicly defended his testimony, his films display a rather ambivalent attitude toward the HUAC hearings. This ambivalence can be seen in specific moments from Viva Zapata, Man on a Tightrope, and On the Waterfront. Smith will also offer a brief overview of the manuscript collections in the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research related to the Hollywood blacklist.

Museum Members $5 | Non-Members $8
Free Parking

•   The Ladies that Broke the Blacklist: Madeline Gilford, Lee Grant, and Ruby Dee (Monday, October 15)
   McCarthy and the Hollywood Blacklist: Parallel Delusions (Sunday, October 21)
   Victim and Villain: Jewish Responses to the Red Scare (Wednesday, November 14)
   Hollywood on Trial with Tony Kahn (Thursday, December 13)
   The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Thursday, January 17)
   Hollywood’s Friendly Witness: Elia Kazan (Thursday, January 31)
Museum Members $15.00 $12.00 | Non-members $24.00 $20.00

Jeff Smith is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. He is the author of two books: The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film and Music and Film Criticism, the Cold War, and the Blacklist: Reading the Hollywood Reds.  He is also a coauthor, along with David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, of the 11th edition of Film Art: An Introduction.

The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR) is one of the world’s major archives of research materials relating to the entertainment industry. It maintains over three hundred collections from outstanding playwrights, television and motion picture writers, producers, actors, designers, directors, and production companies. Materials preserved include: historical records and personal papers, twenty thousand motion pictures, television shows, and videotapes; two million still photographs and promotional graphics; and several thousand sound recordings. It is richest in records of the American film industry between 1930 and 1960, American popular theater in the 1940s and 1950s, and American television from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Offered in connection with Blacklist: Hollywood’s Red Scare, an exhibit on display at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, October 12, 2018 – February 10, 2019.

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