Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Writing > Politics > Witch Hunt > Hollywood > Trumbo (2007 Documentary/Magnolia DVD)

Trumbo (2007/Magnolia DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Documentary: B



The Hollywood Blacklisting in the 1950s is still not as clearly understood or debated, even after the Bush II years in which some of its aspects returned.  In the 1940s, Right Wing and some centrists in the U.S. Government decided to go after the filmmaking capital of the U.S. and the world searching for communists working inside the town.  This was actually a witch-hunt for anyone liberal or who had been involved in the U.S. Communist Party at times when the U.S.S.R. was considered less relevant and even an ally during WWII.  One of the targets of what became known as the Hollywood Ten was Dalton Trumbo and his son Christopher created a play simply called Trumbo to tell his story.


Director Peter Askin has turned it into a documentary with the participation of Joan Allen, Brian Dennehy, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Paul Giamatti, Nathan Lane, Josh Lucas, Liam Neeson, David Strathairn, Donald Sutherland, Dustin Hoffman and Danny Glover in a rich 95 minutes that shows how one man paid a price for not bowing and scraping to a procedure that quickly spun out of control and ruined millions of lives.


Trumbo was unapologetic and paid the price for never apologizing or participating in what eventually became a sham and kangaroo court.  The debate aside, he suffered, his family suffered, his dreams were never totally realized and it took until 1960 when he became the first of the blacklisted writers to get screen credit again.  Until then, they used fake names (known as fronts) to write for TV, radio and features.  But this is a character study that never sells the history short, but keeps it in context.


All in all, it is yet another solid piece of evidence explaining what really happened in what is still one of the most important history lessons in U.S. History.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image can be a little soft as the interviews (the majority of the content here) is shot in HD, but film clips look good, as do stills.  I also liked the editing and pace.  The courtroom sequences are the muddiest.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is simple and just fine for such a program, with archival audio sounding as distorted as expected.  Extras include trailers for other political Magnolia releases, stills and readings of Trumbo’s work by Paul Giamatti (a June 1955 letter to Ring Larder, Jr.) and Danny Glover (a December 1947 Letter to Author, Film Associate).



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com