Bryan Cranston is famous for his role as meth cook “Walter White” on the AMC drama series, “Breaking Bad.” He may become infamous for something else later this year. He is playing the role of Stalinist Communist and Hitler apologist Dalton Trumbo in the new film, “Trumbo.”
The film is said to be in its “post-production” phase, and Cranston may not have known what he was getting into. It’s hard to believe he would have played this role had he known the facts about Trumbo’s service to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Once the facts get out, his role could derail what looked like a promising career.
Allan H. Ryskind, author of the new book, Hollywood Traitors, anticipates that the film “Trumbo” will be “celebrating Dalton Trumbo, a major Hollywood Ten figure and longtime Communist enthusiast…” He notes that the advance publicity for the film says that Trumbo bravely took a “stand against the Communist-witch-hunt at the height of the Cold War” and was “punished for his principled stand for free speech and the Constitution.”
Indeed, the conventional wisdom is that Trumbo and all other members of the “Hollywood Ten were innocent victims of a ‘blacklist.’” The facts show something very different. Trumbo was in fact a Soviet/Nazi agent of influence in Hollywood. All of the “Ten” were communists but Trumbo was one of the worst.
Ryskind, the son of famous Hollywood screenwriter Morrie Ryskind, reports that “Trumbo, in truth, was a full-fledged Stalinist who had the distinction of siding with three of the most barbarous dictators in the 20th century: Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and North Korea’s Kim-Il Sung.”
Ryskind, a long-time editor of the newspaper Human Events, worked on this book for many years and combed through Trumbo’s papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison. He goes on to write, “Like so many of his comrades, he [Trumbo] became a Hitler apologist after Stalin joined Hitler in that 1939 pact. In order to poison the well against Hitler’s enemies, he demonized the Fuehrer’s foes. England was no democracy, he argued in his 1941 novel, The Remarkable Andrew, because it had a ‘king.’ FDR was guilty of ‘treason’ and ‘black treason’ for his pro-England policy. No drop of American blood should be risked or spilled for the selfish and deceitful British.”
On the matter of Trumbo’s support for the communist North Korean regime, Ryskind notes, “When North Korea waged war against South Korea in 1950, where did Dalton stand? In an unpublished movie script dedicated to several Hollywood Ten figures, he has the heroine declare that North Korea’s invasion was perfectly justifiable, for this is “Korea’s fight for independence, just as we had to fight for our own independence in 1776.”
Ryskind provides more details in a special report that accompanies the release of his book. He says, “Communist Dalton Trumbo, a prominent screenwriter, a Hollywood Ten figure and a Hollywood icon, led the fight in America to ease Hitler’s burden of conquest. He did this by demonizing Hitler’s enemies, assailing Great Britain as deceptive and dishonorable and suggesting it was unworthy of assistance because it was a monarchy not a democracy. England, he also noted, had declared war against Hitler, not the other way around, and he accused FDR, previously a Communist Party favorite, of being guilty of ‘treason’ and ‘black treason’ for giving England military assistance. Trumbo vigorously presented his views in speeches and in writing, and laid out his case most explicitly in his 1941 novel, The Remarkable Andrew.”
The rest of the story is also provided by Ryskind: “The Hollywood Communist contingent, including Trumbo, quickly turned against Hitler after the Fuehrer betrayed Stalin in June of 1941, launching a massive invasion of the Soviet Union. Then, and only then, did the radical screenwriters switch sides again, now demanding America give massive assistance to the Soviet Union to combat fascism and help it survive the Nazi onslaught. Only after Hitler invaded the USSR did the Communist screenwriters become ‘patriotic,’ since they believed US assistance was crucial to the Soviet Union’s survival.”
After examining the historical record, including Trumbo’s papers, Ryskind concludes, “…I’ve never found a paragraph, or even a phrase, where he ever publicly or privately condemns Stalin’s Soviet Union in a meaningful way, certainly not when the Caligula in the Kremlin was dispatching his own citizens by the millions, egging Hitler on as he invaded the Western democracies, cheering Goering’s air force as it rained death and destruction on London and eagerly devouring Eastern Europe in the post-World War II era. Not a peep of protest or regret from a man whom Hollywood longs to lionize.”
It may be the case that Cranston was not aware of the facts about Trumbo’s service to the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany. That is why I recently sent him a letter setting forth the facts contained in this column. If he was deceived about Trumbo’s true character, he has the right to raise hell.
Whatever the ultimate fate of the film and Cranston’s role in it, Ryskind’s book about the days when communists were trying to dominate Hollywood has suddenly taken on more importance.