Today it was 38'C. I decided to shout myself dinner and a movie, for the air conditioning. The movie I went to see was Trumbo. And I so enjoyed it! Hollywood history has always fascinated me, and this era, the McCarthy witch hunts especially. So many people were shown at their best - and their worst - at that time.
So, why am I writing about a movie on my book blog? And not even a speculative fiction movie?
It's the story of a writer - a writer whose films I've loved over the years. You will certainly have seen some of them. Roman Holiday, that gentle, funny, sweet comedy which he wrote through a front, and which scored him an Oscar, even if his name wasn't on it. Spartacus, on which his name did appear, because of Kirk Douglas's decision. In an era when epics were more about huge scenes than about people this one was full of characters you cared about and intelligent dialogue. I read the Howard Fast novel on which it was based, definitely a classic, but the film became a classic in its own right. I remember reading Kirk Douglas's memoir some years ago, in which he said the original script by Howard Fast just didn't work and that sometimes the author isn't the right person to do the screenplay. Dalton Trumbo also wrote the Exodus screenplay. That was a classic in its own right too, though I would have cast a British actor as Ari Ben Canaan if I couldn't find a suitable Israeli, because Ari learned English from the British. But Paul Newman was a star, so... Dalton Trumbo's name was on that too. The McCarthy era was just about over by then, though apparently the HUAC went on till 1975!
I really enjoyed the film and thanked heaven that I am unlikely ever to be in the position of the hero. It had some great scenes in it. The role of Kirk Douglas was played by Dean O'Gorman, a Kiwi actor I last saw playing one of Thorin Oakenshield's sexy young nephews(not the one who had the romance with the elf maiden, his brother). And he did make a very good Kirk Douglas, if somewhat younger looking than Mr Douglas was at the time. (Apparently Kirk Douglas enjoyed this film too). They replaced Kirk Douglas's face with Dean O'Gorman's in a scene from Spartacus, nice what they can do now.
There's a lovely scene in which Frank King, the maker of movie drek, is visited by someone from the black ban bunch, who makes threats about what they can do to his business if he doesn't fire Dalton Trumbo, who has been writing him scripts under a pen name. King, who is played by John Goodman, grabs a baseball bat and tells him to do his worst, while smashing things; the kind of people who see his dreadful movies can't read and aren't likely to be reading the propaganda in the papers.
And I loved the business of him writing in the bath tub. I hear there's a statue of him somewhere, writing in the tub. I wonder if I should try it some time? Not on my iPad, though!