This essay explores the relationship of workers to the Hollywood system. It examines the role of film as a medium for social change and provocation—an important tool for marginalized figures of society. It outlines the crucial ways film influences the way people understand the world. It is most important, in fact, when dealing with issues about which people know very little. This argument substantiates Herbert J. Biberman’s own ideals about the necessity of film and proves the relevance of his efforts at self-expression and the articulation of a marginalized group. By I. Cowles
An account of the inspiration behind and the making of “Salt of the Earth” by the director himself. The story accounts, primarily, what the inspirations were for the making of the film—especially regarding the Hollywood blacklist and the HUAC hearings, which ultimately lead to Biberman’s incarceration in Texas. He tells of his experiences as a member of the Hollywood Ten and recounts the tension this put on his personal life and artistic capacities. The book delineates Biberman’s struggle to make the film—from casting and production issues to distribution challenges. It sheds a light on the parallels between the story Biberman chooses to tell through the film’s account of the Mexican Union Workers and the persecution of he and his colleagues under the HUAC and McCarthy agendas. By I. Cowles
Lorence, James J. . Suppression of Salt of the earth : how Hollywood, big labor, and politicians blacklisted a movie in Cold War America / James J. Lorence. Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, c1999.
This book explores the making of “Salt of the Earth.” It explores all of the important facets of the film, examining the implications of the representation as a means of criticizing the HUAC agenda and fostering community and self-expression within an oppressively authoritarian system. Lorence outlines the circumstances created by the Cold War, explores the origins of the IPC and the inspiration behind the making of “Salt of the Earth.” He explores the difficulties of film production and distribution, and ultimately discusses the legacy of the film on both foreign and domestic markets. By I. Cowles
This essay explores the 1947 House Committee on Un-American Activities persecution of a number of Hollywood figures—those suspected of Communist affiliations. The essay outlines the process through which the HUAC “hearings” produced a blacklist and ultimately gave rise to the imprisonment of the ‘Hollywood Ten,’ among whom was Herbert J. Biberman. The essay, however, casts a critical light on many of the members of the Hollywood Ten, arguing that many of them were, indeed, ultimately willing to compromise their political beliefs. He gives an un-traditional account of the HUAC hearings and those alleged Communists it pursued. Indeed, Eckstein ultimately writes this of the Hollywood Ten, “Martyrs, they are—but they are not innocent martyrs.” (433)By I. Cowles
This article, which begins by outlining Biberman’s persecution by HUAC and the Hollywood historical context which inspired the making of the film, criticizes “Salt of the Earth” for not referencing the industry more—it avoids popular culture references, which, Klawans believes weakens the argument of the film. By I. Cowles
An account of the Mexican mines’ situation and the response by Biberman and his filmmaking team. This article outlines the making of “Salt of the Earth,” as it outlines the perseverance of those involved in the filmmaking process. It explores the extremes Biberman and Jerrico went to in order to make and distribute their film, whose making, ultimately, could not be suppressed by the ethically dubious political agenda of Hollywood during the McCarthy era. By I. Cowles
Screenplay of “Salt of the Earth” written by Michael Wilson; Comments by Debora Silverton Rosenfelt comparing Hollywood and New Mexico; two final chapters outlining the making and distributing of the film. This is a direct account of the screenplay of the film. Wilson’s work is then followed by several academic and historical treatments of the film and filmmaking process. By I. Cowles
tagged lockouts new_mexico pfdoctype_book pffilmtitle_salt_of_the_earth pfpeople_deborah_silverton_rosenfelt pfpeople_herbert_j._biberman pfpeople_michael_wilson strikes union workers zinc_mining by wellske ...and 1 other person ...on 14-NOV-06
The article’s author, A.H. Weiler interview’s Biberman who comments on the social relevance of the film after the publication of his personal account of the filmmaking process, which appears in his book Salt of the Earth: the Story of a Film, a documentation of the ideological and pragmatic elements of the development of “Salt of the Earth”. By I. Cowles
New York Times article reviewing the film in 1954. Recognizes “Salt of the Earth” as little more than a portrayal of the Mexican miners and their straightforward revolt: it does not delve much more deeply into the theme of Biberman, Jerrico and Wilson’s need for self-expression in the face of the HUAC hearings (though the article does briefly mention the controversy). The film also recognizes the feminist undertones of the film. The article lauds “Salt of the Earth” as a well-made, “special interest film.” By I. Cowles
This article documents the presentation by the College of Santa Fe in March 2003 of the “Salt of the Earth” conference. It explains the significance of the film in a social and historical context with respect to the racial injustices it outlined as a parallel to the displays of racial intolerance of the McCarthy era. The article explores Biberman’s account of the making of “Salt of the Earth” as it appeared in his book titled as such. Ceplair also examines the film “One of the Hollywood Ten” as it relates to Biberman’s personal relationship to the historical context of the making of “Salt of the Earth”. By I. Cowles
A historical look at the Mexican-American struggle for equality in the workforce. The film has feminist undertones as it deals with the influence of women on strengthening the workers’ community. A response to the HUAC hearings and the social inequalities subtly proclaimed by the McCarthy administration in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Herbert J. Biberman was a native to Philadelphia, born in 1900. Although he moved to New York to pursue his career and was educated outside of the city, he did spend significant time at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, Biberman was raised a Jew and adopted Communism as his political ideology. These elements of his persona were largely responsible for the suspicions he inspired in the HUAC hearings and were ultimately the reason for his six month imprisonment on the charge of “Contempt of Congress.” Biberman’s upbringing, a key element in defining him as a marginalized figure in 1950s America, occurred primarily in Philadelphia.
Because I am examining only one film, the relevance of which pertains primarily to a national context, my focus on Philadelphia History throughout this project has been scarce. The city, as the birthplace of Herbert J. Biberman pertains to the project for that reason more than any other. In fact, coverage of the Philadelphia native was extremely limited—especially in response to his film “Salt of the Earth.” Thus, my project focuses primarily on Herbert Bieberman’s national influence, consequences of which affected America far beyond Philadelphia alone. By I. Cowles
tagged lockouts new_mexico pfdoctype_film pffilmtitle_salt_of_the_earth pfpeople_herbert_j._biberman pfpeople_juan_chacon pfpeople_michael_wilson pfpeople_paul_jarrico pfpeople_rosaura_revueltas pfpeople_will_geer strikes union workers zinc_mining by wellske ...and 1 other person ...on 14-NOV-06