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Trivia / Goofs
Times of India
The socio-political climate post World War 2 in the US was rife with anti-communist sentiment. Any person displaying a hint of socialist or even vaguely Marxist leanings, for whatever reason, would land into trouble. No one was exempt. Top Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) was a victim of the House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunt for being outspoken about his thoughts about labour rights. This film tells his story.
There really is only one way to say this - Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad fame) owns this film. And it's easy to see why he is nominated for an Oscar for playing the controversial American screenwriter who always stood up for what he believed in, despite being vilified, isolated and even imprisoned. At the height of the Cold War, patriotism in the US was synonymous with anti-Soviet paranoia. The film clearly depicts that absolutely no American - not even former soldiers who fought for their country - were above suspicion of being communist sympathizers.
Trumbo is targeted for espousing the Socialist cause in his movies. Realising that films are a powerful medium for getting ideas - whether subliminal or blatant - across to the public, he is put on what was known as the Hollywood Blacklist, whereby he would be denied any kind of work. Producers and directors boycott him, despite his obvious brilliance. He suffered the ignominy of watching two of his films - Roman Holiday and The Brave One - win Oscars without his name being mentioned in the credits. He does ultimately get his due though, as this is a real-life story set to screen.
While the period detailing is great, the film does have a few historical inaccuracies. And yes, the pace can be a bit slow at times but the emotional intensity of the film never sags. And John McNamara's script saves the day. While the rest of the cast, despite their caliber, are somewhat second fiddle (except for Mirren's colourful portrayal of a gossip columnist named Hedda Hopper), this is essentially Cranston's gig all the way. The last scene of the film alone is worth the ticket price.
Before Bryan Cranston was cast for the lead role, actor Gary Oldman was considered to play Dalton.
For many scenes where Dalton is seen writing or working at his desk, Bryan is not faking it but actually writing complete sentences. Director Jay Roach claimed that Bryan added his own improvisations to the scenes while performing them.
This is Jay Roach’s first non-comedy feature film.
Michael Stuhlbarg’s character, Edward G. Robinson, was in fact the person who named Dalton Trumbo and a few other friends of Trumbo, in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Louis CK’s character, Arlen Hird, did not really exist but is a fictional character created for the film.
After portraying an owner or an important employee of a movie company in 'The Artist' and 'Argo,' John Goodman will be seen reprising the role in this film too. Incidentally, both his previous films won Oscars for Best Picture.
Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is a screenwriter whose talent places him among the elite of Hollywood. However, his outspoken support for organized labor, and his membership in the Communist Party of the USA draw the contempt of staunchly anti-Soviet entertainment-industry figures such as columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and actor John Wayne (David James Elliott).
J. Parnell Thomas heads the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Trumbo is one of 10 screenwriters subpoenaed to testify before the United States Congress regarding alleged Communist propaganda in Hollywood films. They refuse to directly answer questions, confident that a liberal majority on the Supreme Court will overturn the convictions for contempt of Congress. Edward G. Robinson, who supports the cause, sells the Portrait of Pere Tanguy to raise money for their legal defense fund.
The unexpected replacement of a liberal Supreme Court Justice condemns each of them to spend time in prison. In 1950, Trumbo serves eleven months in Texarkana prison where he meets J. Parnell Thomas who was convicted of tax evasion.
As the Hollywood Blacklist expands to exclude more liberals from working in the industry, Trumbo and his comrades are abandoned by Democratic actor Edward G. Robinson (Michael Stuhlbarg) and producer Buddy Ross (Roger Bart), who disavow them to protect their careers. Trumbo's prison term eventually finishes, but he remains blacklisted and his finances - and family life - become increasingly strained. He resorts to giving the screenplay for Roman Holiday to his friend Ian McLellan Hunter (Alan Tudyk), to take credit and a share of the money, and eventually the Academy Award for Best Story. Selling his idyllic lakeside home and moving to a house in the city, he goes to work as a pseudonymous screenwriter for the low-budget King Brothers Productions, also farming out the writing of B-movie screenplays to fellow blacklisted writers. He puts his wife Cleo (Diane Lane) and teenage children to work as his support staff, adding to domestic conflict. King Brothers' film The Brave One, an original story by Trumbo under a pseudonym, receives an Academy Award he cannot claim. His blacklisted friend Arlen Hird (Louis C.K.) dies, destitute, but an attempt by Hopper's allies to intimidate the head of King Brothers to fire Trumbo fails completely.
Over time, industry suspicion of Trumbo's ghostwriting develops, but he is careful not to confirm it. In 1960, actor Kirk Douglas (Dean O'Gorman) recruits him to write the screenplay for his epic film Spartacus, and director Otto Preminger (Christian Berkel) recruits him to script Exodus for him; both publicly credit Trumbo as the screenwriter despite Hopper's futile efforts to intimidate Douglas into dropping Trumbo. By 1960, to Hopper's despair, the effectiveness of the Blacklist has been broken to the point where newly elected US President John F. Kennedy publicly endorses Spartacus and Trumbo and others are able to begin rebuilding their careers. Ten years later, finally receiving his due accolades from Hollywood, Trumbo speaks about how the Blacklist victimized them all: those who stood by their principles and lost their jobs, and also those who compromised their principles to keep them.
@bristola48 Ya some are very predictable. Hey I watched a great movie, I will recommend you watch. It's called #Trumbo. Jaw dropping.
Alongside flagging up Otto Preminger’s unsung role in returning Trumbo’s name to the screen, what gives Roach’s movie bite is the depiction of the writer’s family and the toll that his actions and allegiances take upon them. Diane Lane is excellent as Trumbo’s loving but long-suffering spouse, Cleo, defending her children against their father’s drug- and alcohol-fuelled irritability, and Elle Fanning works wonders with the role of Niki (played in her younger years by Madison Wolfe), the elder daughter who seems to embody so many of her father’s fiery, idealistic traits. In the end, it is through the eyes of these characters that we see Trumbo most clearly, in all his stubborn, satirical glory. Cranston’s Trumbo may be the focus of attention, but Lane and Fanning’s Cleo and Niki (along with the rest of his family) are the power behind his throne – in fiction as in life.