Monday, April 23, 2018

Big paper ideas

Honors 399 Students:

Sorry I'm a bit late on this, but here are some ideas for your final big paper:

- High Noon and its challenge to the classical Western film
- Gary Cooper, friendly HUAC witness and friend to accused Communist Carl Forman
- A comparison/contrast of director Fred Zinnemann with one or more  other directors we've studied
- Salt of the Earth's place in the history of filmmaking
- Assessing HUAC and its place in history
- Racial and ethnic clashes in Do the Right Thing
- The role of women in Norma Rae and the role of women in Salt of the Earth
- From The Last Laugh to Do the Right Thing, a look at what is consistent and what has changed in fllmmaking
- The miracle that Salt of the Earth was made
- The role of music in various films we've studied
- High Noon as an allegory
- Grace Kelly versus Rosaura Revueltas
- The critique of capitalism that connects Modern Times to Salt of the Earth
- Is Salt of the Earth communist propaganda?
- The challenge of fascism to filmmaking
- Who does the right thing in Do the Right Thing?
- Sally Field's Norma Rae and the real-life Norma Rae, Crystal Lee Sutton
- Norma Rae and what actually happened in the J.P. Stevens union battle
- The role of the weather in Do the Right Thing
- The importance of supporting roles in Do the Right Thing and/or other films we've studied
- Conventional morals and the poor as seen in Salt of the Earth, Norma Rae and/or Do the Right Thing

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Juan Chacon

Image result for juan chacon actor

Juan R. Chacon

Juan Chacon was born on November 8, 1919, in Dwyer, New Mexico. He was a member of the Catholic Chruch and served as the president of the United Steelworkers of American Local 890 for 17 years.  He married Virginia Lara on August 4, 1946.

He was known for his most famous role in Salt of the Earth (1954) which depicted the 1951 Empire Zinc strike in Grant County, New Mexico.  Due to the film's perceived political stance, it sparked controversy and caused Chacon and all of the movie's actors to be blacklisted by the House of Un-American Activities.

In March of 1982, he retired from Chino Mines company and died 3 years later on February 16, 1985, at age 65.

Empire Zinc

Empire Zinc was a mining company owned by the bigger mining company, New Jersey Zinc Company.  It is famously known for the strike that occurred at its mine in Silver City, New Mexico.  The company was discriminating its workers by giving higher pay and better housing to white workers opposed to Mexicans or Mexican-Americans. 
A union formed between the workers, and they went on strike to demand an end to the discrimination, low wages, and poor work conditions.  As they picketed, the company sent police who threatened the workers with fines and evictions.  As the strikes persisted, the company sent strike-breakers who caused violence.  Eventually, the company acquired a court order which threatened the workers with jail time.  In response, the workers wives and children protested in their place, as they were not subject to the same rules.  Despite this, many women were arrested which brought negative national attention to the company.  Fifteen months after the strike began, the company finally agreed to the worker’s demands.

Will Geer

Though he was born William Aughe Ghere in 1902, he changed his name to Will Geer because of the studio system's push for actors to have simplified, memorable names. He went to school for botany and received his master's degree from the University of Chicago. Geer began acting in traveling shows and riverboats. His first Broadway premiere was Much Ado About Nothing, followed by The Cradle Will Rock, and Of Mice and Men. His first movies include Broken Arrow and Bright Victory, both in 1951. In 1934 he became associated with the American Communist Party and was blacklisted in the Early 1950s because he refused to testify in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee. As a response, he appeared in several politically driven films including Salt of the Earth in 1954 in which he plays the sheriff. In 1951, Geer founded the Theatricum Botanicum to combine his interests in botany and theater, reassuring that he grew every plant mentioned in Shakespeare. Geer was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in 1964 and won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 1975.

Rosaura Revueltas

Rosaura Revueltas

Image result for rosaura revueltas salt of the earth
Rosaura Revueltas was a Mexican actress that starred in "Salt of the Earth" as Esperanza Quintero. She was born into a famously artistic family living in Durango, Mexico in 1910. She studied ballet and acting in Mexico City. She started acting and played many roles, many during her early thirties as old grey haired ladies. In 1952, she was contracted for "Salt of the Earth". In this role, she struggles for workers and women's rights in a strike. The film was made with the help of the International Union of Mine and Mill and Smelter Workers. The film caused an outrage and she eventually was arrested and charged with entering the US illegally. She was then deported and the filmmakers used a double for the remainder of the movie. (?!) This movie caused her to be blacklisted in both the United States and Mexico. She instead worked with Bertold Brecht and taught yoga and dance. She eventually wrote a book. She died at 86 in 1996.

International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers

The International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter workers was created in the western United States, and eventually expanded across the United States and Canada. The union was very active politically from the 1930s to the 1960s, and they were known for standing firm against political oppositions. Many of the philosophies the union supported mirrored communism and many of the leaders were believed and/or affirmed to be members of the Communist Party. The union president Reid Robinson was known for appointing communists to positions of authority throughout the organization. Some anticommunist members of the union called for the resignation of Robinson in 1947, however, they found out that Maurice Travis, who was also a communist, would succeed him. Travis left the union after a short stint as president due to the Taft-Hartley Act. During his tenure, he was criticized by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the rest of the HUAC investigators for his communist's efforts. 

Paul Jarrico

Paul Jarrico was born in 1915 as Israel Shapiro in Los Angeles, CA. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant. While attending UCA, Jarrico joined the Young Communist League and the American Communist Party. In the 1930's, Jarrico began writing crime and come scripts for small Hollywood films, such as No Time to Marry (1937), under Colombia Pictures. But Jarrico took a break from writing to be a marine in WWII. When he returned in 1941, Jarrico wrote for the film Tom, Dick, and Harry, which was nominated for an Academy Award of Best Original Screenplay, while employed under Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures. Under the pressure of President F. D. Roosevelt, Jarrico helped write the script for the film Song of Russia, which was meant to gain sympathy for Russia who was at war Germany at the time. He also wrote for other successful films such as Thousands Cheer (1943) and The Search (1948). But in 1950 when Jarrico was writing for the film The White Tower, Jarrico found trouble; someone had given his name to the House Un-American Activities Committee. Immediately, Howard Hughes dropped Jarrico from working on the film. After refusing to testify, Jarrico was officially blacklisted and kept from leaving the country. With no work to be found, Jarrico fled to New Mexico where he met with a fellow blacklisted filmmaker named Herbert J. Biberman, and together they made the film Salt of the Earth (1954). The only film to be made by blacklisted films, it became blacklisted itself. Despite this, it was chosen to be placed within the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1992. In 1958, Jarrico moved to England to produce films under the pseudonym "Peter Achilles." He eventually made his way back to the United States, marrying Lia Benedetti in 1992. He lived in California and then died from a car accident 1997. He was on his way home from an event commemorating the beginning of the blacklist.