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The Red & The Blacklist

June 12, 2003
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A look at Hollywood during the McCarthy Era with blacklisted screenwriter Norma Barzman.

"Even a hint of the blacklist must never again be tolerated in this nation."

That was part of the text of a memo sent by the Screen Actors Guild to Hollywood filmmakers in March as the U.S. prepared to invade Iraq. By then some of Hollywood’s biggest names were already coming intense criticism for their anti-war views. Some of those targeted were: Michael Moore. Susan Sarandon. Sean Penn. Martin Sheen. Tim Robbins.

Well today we are going to go back 50 years to Hollywood during the McCarthy era to speak with blacklisted screenwriter Norma Barzman. She has just published a memoir of the era titled The Red and the Blacklist.

In 1948 she and her husband screenwriter Ben Barzman were identified as communists. They were forced to flee Hollywood and the country. They went into exile in Europe.

While blacklisted, she worked on numerous films and wrote numerous screenplays but her name often didn’t appear in the credits. The Writers Guild of America just restored her credit for Never Say Goodbye, Luxury Girls. She is still battling for credit on the classic film The Locket.

  • Norma Barzman is a screenwriter and novelist who lives in Beverly Hills. She wrote the screenplay for Never Say Goodbye, Luxury Girls (for which the Writers Guild of America has recently restored her credit), and is battling for credit on the classic film The Locket. She also worked for the Los Angeles Examiner, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. She was the wife of blacklisted screenwriter Ben Barzman.

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