Watch This: John Garfield was a tragic blacklist casualty
Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. This week: The Oscar-nominated Trumbo and the Coens’ ’50s-set Hollywood farce Hail, Caesar! have us thinking back on films by or featuring artists blacklisted during the Red Scare.
All of Hollywood became entangled in the egregious activities of the U.S. Congressional House Un-American Activities Committee. But the despicable movement had many more martyrs past even the blacklisted Hollywood 10. The list of performers and creators put on Hollywood’s “no” list was much longer and spread wider, and included a brilliant actor who’s mostly forgotten today: John Garfield.
Garfield was Brando before there was a Brando. He had started with New York’s experimental Group Theater with fellow heavyweights like Lee Strasberg, Frances Farmer, and Clifford Odets. He was an ambitious actor who greedily absorbed every part he was given …