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Friday, July 2, 1999 Published at 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK


Controversial film director dies

Dmytryk was jailed, blacklisted and then named names

Film director Edward Dmytryk, a member of the Hollywood Ten who was sent to prison during the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1940s, has died in California aged 90.

Dmytryk worked with many of Hollywood's biggest stars including Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando.

Born in Canada of Ukrainian immigrants, his films included The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Broken Lance (1954) ,The Young Lions (1958) and The Carpetbaggers (1964).

Successful though he was, it was his jail sentence and blacklisting, following by a naming-names scandal that he will be best remembered for.

Admitted being communist links

In 1947 he was investigated and found guilty of communist affiliations by the House Un-American Activities Committee as one of the Hollywood Ten and sentenced to one year in jail.

When he finished his sentence, he admitted that he had been a Communist Party member.

In 1988 he said he had kept it secret because "they would call me a coward; they'd say I was doing it simply to stay out of jail".

After his release, he went into self-imposed exile in the UK, where he directed three films, including Give Us This Day, featuring early roles for Sam Wanamaker and comedy legend Sid James.

In 1951, he returned to the US and faced the House Committee again. This time he identified 26 people as communists.

"I didn't feel guilty about talking," he said later. "I knew the accused would call me a rat. But I did what I wanted to do. I have never regretted."

Called 'scum'

Like scriptwriter Elia Kazan, the recipient of a controversial honorary Oscar this year, Dmytryk was never forgiven for naming names by others who had been blacklisted.

In 1988, the Barcelona Film Festival organised a symposium about Hollywood's blacklist, inviting Dmytryk and three others who had been blacklisted but never recanted.

The trio would not share the same platform with Dmytryk and he was forced to sit in the audience. His one-time comrades labelled him as "scum", "Judas" and "informer".

Dmytryk replied: "I didn't give any names that weren't known by the FBI."

After the event, he said: "When I die, I know the obits will first read 'one of Hollywood's Unfriendly 10,' not 'director of The Caine Mutiny, The Young Lions, Raintree County and other films'."

He is survived by his wife, Jean Porter, a son, two daughters and three grandchildren.

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