Paul Buhle, author of The Encyclopedia of the American Left (1990), and Dave Wagner, a film critic and journalist, first collaborated on A Very Dangerous Citizen: Abraham Lincoln Polonsky and the Hollywood Left (2001). Polonsky, a writer and director who was blacklisted after his failure to provide friendly testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951, is one of numerous writers and directors that receive considerable scrutiny in Radical Hollywood: The Untold Story Behind America’s Favorite Movies.
Radical Hollywood charts the influence of leftist ideology in Hollywood, paying particular attention to the ways in which writers, directors, actors, and producers used the medium of film to effect social and political change. The result is a vast compendium of actual and anecdotal history, which provides a wealth of interesting details about the making of classic Hollywood films and their impact on popular and political culture.
Justly described by critics and reviewers as an encyclopedic study of the cultural and political background of Hollywood’s golden age, Radical Hollywood comprises interviews, archival materials, and personal biographies of principal figures in film across numerous genres, from the silent era to film noir. Rare film stills and portraits compliment Buhle and Wagner’s intensive analysis of a fascinating and turbulent era in the history of film.