Amazingly enough, even at the somewhat advanced age of 95, Kirk Douglas is still writing books, and in this case, it will be his first ebook (though it is also being issued as a regular paper book too). With the title I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking The Black List, this newest book from this rather amazing man tells not only the story of the making of this iconic film, but also goes into considerable detail about the appalling 1984ish situation in the USA at the height of the cold war, when Joe McArthy was running amok, and hundreds, possibly thousands of Americans were placed on his Black List as Communist sympathizers, and thus unable to work (what price Land of the Free then?).
One such was Dalton Trumbo, a well known Script writer who had fallen foul of the McArthy gang, and had been Blacklisted, and was thus unable to work in Hollywood, and had in fact been imprisoned because of his refusal to appear before the much feared House of UnAmerican Activities Committee (McArthy’s Star Court). In passing I should mention that the original book of Spartacus had been written by Howard Fast, another victim of the McArthy gang and who had also been imprisoned.
This was a very dark period in America’s history, as all of us who are old enough to remember it will know. A real case of letting the Thought Police off the leash. Altogether nasty stuff.
Anyhow, Douglas who disagreed violently with the politics of McArthy, decided to produce this film, and wanted to employ Trumbo to write the screen play for it, as a gesture of support to Trumbo. But as the studio heads refused to take the risk of employing Trumbo, he had to work under an assumed name. But Douglas did employ him.
Not just Mad Joe McArthy…. But also………..
However, this was not the only problem that Douglas faced in producing and acting in this film, he also had to deal with a collection of huge egos as well, people such as Peter Ustinov, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Charles Laughton and director Stanley Kubrick.
So this ebook is an intriguing glimpse into the inner workings of both a very rough and nasty political period in the USA, but also about the shenanigans and fights involved in working with such a collection of Prima Donas… Should be fun!
This book, both the ebook and paper version, which will be available at Amazon from 12th June tells the whole tumultuous story of both the making of this film, and the breaking of the Hollywood Blacklist.
As Douglas says in an interview about this book:
“The blacklist was a witch hunt, destroying lives and careers without regard for the truth of the allegations, There are parallels to today’s political climate, and I thought it was timely to set down my recollections about the making of the film.”
Where to get it: I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist
Price: Sadly, the ebook for no clear reason will cost more than the paper version… Hmmmm
Paper version = $9.41
Kindle version = $11.99
Share with us:
Do you remember this darkest period in the modern history of the USA? And if so, do you feel that this newest book from Kirk Douglas will be a useful addition to the history of that period?