Hollywood’s Cold War Dissidents in Ireland

In 1952, John Huston faced backlash from supporters of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who accused him of being a communist. Huston, however, despised bullies like McCarthy and believed in constitutional rights like freedom of speech. Disillusioned by the anti-communist hysteria in America, he decided to live in Ireland. During his time there, he met the journalist Claud Cockburn, whom McCarthy had also targeted. Huston discovered Cockburn’s novel, “Beat the Devil,” and turned it into a film. Although the movie initially flopped, it later gained a cult following. Both Huston and Cockburn remained defiant against McCarthyism and continued to criticize powerful elites.


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