Oscar Politics: Maltz, Albert, Blacklisted Writer

Producers and directors also suffered from the fear induced by McCarthyism. The Hollywood Ten, a group of directors and screenwriters subpoenaed to appear before the HUAC in 1947 and cited for contempt of Congress because they refused to disclose their political affiliations, included: producer-director Herbert Biberman, director Edward Dmytryk, producer-writer Adrian Scott, and screenwriters Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, Ring Lardner Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, and Dalton Trumbo.

Tried at a Federal Court in Washington, D.C., in April 1948, they were given the maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of one thousand dollars. While blacklisted, some went abroad, others were forced to retire, and still others wrote scripts while using fronts.

Most of the Hollywood Ten were prominent artists with Oscar Awards and nominations to their credit.

Albert Maltz

The benevolent 1950 Western, “Broken Arrow” became a cause celebre for another, equally important reason. Its screenplay, credited to Michael Blankfort, was nominated for an Oscar, except that Blankfort served as a front to blacklisted writer Albert Maltz.

In 1947, Maltz became one of the Hollywood Ten, convicted of contempt for Congress for refusing to testify about membership in the Communist Party. Maltz served ten month in prison. Though he continued to do uncredited work on movies, after Naked City in 1948, his name would not appear on screen.

His status changed in 1970, when Clint Eastwood hired him ro penn his Western, “Two Mules for Sister Sara.”

In 1991, the Writers Guild of America corrected this injustice and Maltz received official credit for “Broken Arrow.”