FBI Hollywood: Part II

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J.Edgar Hoover's familiarity with the movie industry as well as his long-standing, almost indiscriminate distrust of anyone holding leftist political views led him in August 1942 to request the Los Angeles office of the bureau to report on communist activities of various motion picture screen personalities, including actors, actresses, writers, directors, and producers. This publication includes reporting from informers, including president of the Screen Actors' Guild Ronald Reagan; information on writers, actors, directors, producers; and FBI "reviews" of mainstream films that were believed to contain communist propaganda from suspect writers, directors, and actors. The FBI's investigation of Hollywood resulted in many thousands of pages that have been made public recently--highlighting an operation organized in the late 1930s and early 1940s to investigate the motion picture industry. After the war, the operation evolved into something much more sophisticated. Between 1944 and 1954, agents conducted extensive surveillance of suspected communists, "left-wingers," and "fellow travelers," and assembled a great deal of information used by the House Un-American Activities Committee in an effort to purge Hollywood of communist influence. Documentation in this new collection includes: FBI surveillance & informant reports; Justice Department and FBI memoranda, correspondence, & analyses; Newsclippings; Excerpts from HUAC hearings; Briefing papers; Speech excerpts; Transcripts of conversations.

Features and Benefits

  • Sampling of the actors, writers, directors, and producers included Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Bertolt Brecht, Charlie Chaplin, Jules Dassin, Walter Disney, Jimmy Durante, Hanns Eisler, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Howard Fast, John Henry Faulk, Alec Guinness, Lillian Hellman, Leo Hurwitz, Paul Jarrico, Danny Kaye, Peter Lorre, Adolphe Menjou, Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles.