Marriage, Sex & Family
For movie audiences of the 21st century, it is difficult to imagine that there were ever movies produced that the Congress of the United States would officially ban. Modern audiences have become accustomed to attitudes, language, and stories that are political, graphic, violent, and more than just a little bit avant garde. Obviously, such was not the case in the blacklisting days of the 1950s! “Salt of the Earth” violated every aspect of the white, middle-America, conservative mindset of 1954. As a political statement, it demonstrated the inter-connection that exists between working class, feminist, environmental and Latino concerns, and yet it was denounced for its “communist overtones” and banned from the public until the late 1960s. It did receive a wide distribution throughout Europe where it was praised for the story, as well as the courage illustrated by its making. In fact, it won an award as the “Best Film Exhibited in France in 1955.” In the ultimate vindication for the movie and its makers, it is
worth noting that it in 1992 it became part of the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
Written by Michael Biberman and Michael Wilson, produced by Paul Jarico and directed by Herbert J. Biberman. Each of which had been “blacklisted” by Senator Joe McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee. Biberman was also one of the infamous “Hollywood 10.” In fact, information included in the DVD release of the film explains that Biberman was arrested while filming the movie and had to give scene directions by letter and telephone while in prison. The film barely got made once the powerful and conservative figures of Hollywood and Washington began attacking it. Members of the miners’ union received death threats from local vigilantes, who set fire to the union’s headquarters in Silver City, New Mexico, and the filmmakers were supposedly warned to “get out of...
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