By Peter ASKIN


Documentary - Completed 2007

Legendary Hollywood writer Dalton Trumbo’s extraordinary story is brought to life through emotionally stirring and downright hilarious performances of his letters by an all-star cast, including Michael Douglas, Liam Neeson and Donald Sutherland.

    • Year of production
    • 2007
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • Director(s)
    • Peter ASKIN
    • Writer(s)
    • Christopher TRUMBO
    • Producer(s)
    • Synopsis
    • By his early 40s, Dalton Trumbo was by no means a model American citizen. Regardless of his private political beliefs, as a devoted husband and father as well as a highly accomplished writer, he was enjoying a great life.
      However, the 1940s was a time of deep paranoia in the United States. Joseph McCarthy was attempting to flush out Communists from all corners, and in 1947, Trumbo was called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he was subsequently arrested and sentenced to jail for contempt of court, along with nine other writers and directors. They would become known as ‘The Hollywood Ten’.
      In actual fact, this perceived contempt was merely Trumbo’s resounding belief in the 1st Amendment, which protects an individual’s right to Freedom of Speech. Regardless, he still had to do jail-time, and it wasn’t until 1950 that he was released, only to find himself blacklisted in Hollywood, and therefore unable to earn his living and provide for his family.
      Trumbo reacted fast. He sold his house, and moved his family to Mexico, where he continued to write, under various pseudonyms and for a far lower fee. During of this period of enforced exile, Trumbo wrote a number of classic scripts including ‘Roman Holiday’ and ‘The Brave One’ - both winning him Oscars for best screenplay. All the while, Trumbo documented his time in exile through a series of witty and inspirational letters to his friends back home in Hollywood, displaying a spirit and a humanity that triumphed in the face of bigoted adversity. It was only after 10 years in the entertainment wilderness that Kirk Douglas hired Trumbo to write Spartacus - this time credited officially - thus ending the blacklist, allowing him to return to the US and continue to write studio pictures.
      Trumbo’s 2 Oscars won under pseudonyms during his time in Mexico are now officially attributed to him in his name. He died in 1976, shortly after completing another legendary script, ‘Papillon’, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
      Through spirited performances of his quirky, heartfelt and thoroughly engaging letters by some of the greatest actors working today, Dalton Trumbo’s legend and his legacy are lavishly presented to new audience. Combining footage of the man himself and interviews with those who knew him, TRUMBO is a politically and morally profound documentary, which is both deeply engaging and thoroughly entertaining throughout, providing a powerful reminder of the importance of free-speech.