The American Dream, The Crucible – And Marlon Brando?
America in the 40’s and 50’s. The Threat of Communism, Elia Kazan’s background and a relationship with Arthur Miller and the House of Un-American Activities Committee, The Cold War. Johnson’s Articles of Crime and Corruption on the Waterfront, Schulberg the Scriptwriter, The American Dream.
(This is all Sincerely written out of respect for all Americans, Written out of A University Class-Speak – Brutally Sensationalised for Effect)
America in the 40’s and early 50’s became a fearful place to live for many. With the reality of the Cold War and the ‘Perceived Threat of Communism’. A senator by the name of Joseph McCarthy wanting desperately to expose these traitors of the American Way, and then we have The House of Un-American Activities Committee, which was set up many years before this but THIS was mainly to weed out Communism.
1947 – The Era of the Black List had begun – and no one will be immune.
Back to the 30’s – Elia Kazan joins what was known as The Group Theatre. These people were involved with putting on plays that dealt with important social and political issues. Two years later Kazan joins the American Communist Party, although only for a year or two, but THIS will come back and haunt him for the Rest of his Life!
40’s – Elia Kazan becomes good friends with a man called Arthur Miller – Miller has just written a play called Death of a Salesman, which Elia Kazan directs, and this play becomes a massive hit for both of them. Death of a Salesman is the ‘Artistic’ (Shot in the Arm) they both needed in their lives and careers at the perfect time.
(Things were about to Change).
Elia Kazan was handed the dreaded Pink Slip, to appear in front of The House of Un-American Activities Committee. They wanted him to testify of his knowledge of some people’s involvement in the Communist Party. He didn’t want to name ‘Names’. He told his friends, “If they ask me to testify I’m going to tell them to SCREW THEMSELVES!”. He was told by the boss of 20th Century Fox that if he doesn’t name ‘Names’ his career IS OVER! He was asked by others, “Why won’t you just name ‘Names’ and get it over and done with – SAVE YOURSELF!” And he said, “Because they’re my Friends”.
After much Soul-Searching, he confided in his good buddy Arthur Miller. Miller, who has had his flirts with Communist Groups, took Kazan aside and said, “Hey, whatever you decide to do, it’ll be the right thing because your heart is in the right place”. Well Kazan finally agreed to go on the stand and testify – He Named Eight Names. (People that were previously involved in the Communist Party).
Elia Kazan’s friendship with Arthur Miller had just ended. Miller’s importance of ‘safe distance’ had become far more important than friendship. Elia Kazan was a Stool Pigeon, he was manipulated by the Committee to do their Filthy Work.
Arthur Miller went away and wrote a chilling broadway play called ‘The Crucible’. This play was about the Salem Witch Trials that happened over 300 years ago. This was Miller’s clever, passionate and ‘Public Dig’ at McCarthyism. He was feeding from his own personal experiences of betrayal through the McCarthy Witch Hunt Trials that had just taken place and ‘Ruined’ so many.
While for years Elia Kazan was shunned, he still held onto remnants of his career and got his hands on the JOHNSON ARTICLES. These powerful Scandal-Making series of articles written by a journalist of the time – Malcolm Johnson. A man who had the ‘Guts’ to ‘Dig Deep’. These Articles were an Expose’ of the Corrupt Union along the Piers and Docks of Old New York.
A screenwriter of the time, Bud Schulberg, this screenwriter of the time had just been through the same as Elia Kazan had been through. Schulberg too was also dragged through The House of Un-American Activities Committee, he too also named ‘Names’ and he too was also shunned. Bud Schulberg got his hands on these Articles and he transformed these into a Film Script Masterpiece called ‘On The Waterfront’.
Three things represent America: The Flag, Apple Pie – And the American Dream. Two of these things often get burnt. This jagged little pill called The American Dream was never official, or legal or even a constitutional promise. A nice positive Jingo.
Fifty Million Living In Poverty! America Isn’t Broke, Contrary to what those in power have us believe. The United States of America is Awash with Wealth AND Cash! It’s just not in the hands of the Everyday American. It’s been transferred in the Greatest Heist In History. From the Everyday Worker and The Consumer (cleverly) to The Banks and The Portfolios of The Filthy Rich – 1%ers.
Well ‘Everyday Americans’, Keep On Dreaming – Because Dreaming The American Dream will only give you Insomnia, yet although Everyone needs to Dream of Something Better, if not – Why Exist?