Lies of “Trumbo”

The film Trumbo was released on November 6. Starring Bryan Cranston as the celebrated screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, the film purports to revisit Hollywood’s blacklist. The film follows the party line, so to speak, and was generally well received. It was in any event mostly taken at face value as history even by those who found it wanting.

The film came in third on my short list of worst films of 2015 for its thoroughgoing falsity. I probably shortchanged it; it deserved to come in second, right behind Truth. Both films distinguished themselves in their efforts to rewrite history. In the case of Trumbo, Hollywood remains in the bag for Communists and Communism. In the case of Truth, Hollywood serves a variety of left-wing causes and the New York Times is on board to lend a hand.

Michael Bernick practices law at the Sedgwick firm in San Francisco. He is a prominent California Democrat who has served in several government positions including a five-year stint as director of California’s Employment Development Department for Governor Gray Davis. So Mr. Bernick has solid credentials as a liberal Democrat.

But Mr. Bernick is an honest man of the left who is unamused by the lies of Trumbo. Having read Ronald Radosh on Trumbo the man and Trumbo the film — Radosh has written about him in his 2006 book (with Allis Radosh) Red Star Over Hollywood, in the 2013 NR article “Will the new Trumbo movie rehash old myths?”, and in the 2015 PJ Media post “Red Star falling: The Trumbo train wreck” — Mr. Bernick calls the film out for its falsity. The San Francisco Chronicle has published Mr. Bernick’s column as “Why the lies of Trumbo matter” and has just made the column directly accessible to nonsubscribers. I encourage interested readers to check it out.

UPDATE: Mr. Bernick has now published a slightly expanded version of his Chronicle column here at Fox&Hounds.