Trumbo, Blu-ray (2016)

by | Feb 11, 2016 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

A fine film about Dalton Trumbo and the Hollywood Ten screenwriters who were blacklisted by the anti-communists.

Trumbo, Blu-ray (2016)

Cast: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, John Goodman, Helen Mirren
Director: Jay Roach
Studio: Universal 57174826 (2/16/16)
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 screens, 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: Spanish, English for the hearing impaired
All regions
Extras: “Who is Trumbo?,” “Bryan Cranston Becomes Trumbo”
Length: 125 min.
Rating: *****

The actor who got a lot of attention for his primary role in the TV series Breaking Bad, Cranston really captures the personality of the Hollywood top screenwriter who was jailed and blacklisted for his political beliefs. The slow progression of the UnAmerican Committee and its awful effect on the screenwriters is clearly shown. Trumbo fights for his civil rights and is very good at stating his views with plenty of wit, such as non-cooperation with the committee and their injustice in attacking the writers in the first place.

Hedda Hopper (played by Helen Mirren) was a leader of the UnAmerican group, and even called the head of MGM a kike while blackmailing him into firing all of the scriptwriters. John Wayne was another strong Hollywood supporter of the UnAmerican group. After the blacklist, Trumbo began writing scripts at a low fee for a shlock movie maker (played by John Goodman), always using an assumed name since his name couldn’t be on the screen. His stance was very hard on his family, in addition to increasing his work load tremendously. And neighbors and some friends were mean to him as well. There is a touching scene with Edward G. Robinson, who had sold out to the investigative committee to save his neck.

Finally Kirk Douglas decided to put Trumbo’s name on the screen as the true writer of his big film Spartacus and director Otto Preminger gave him full credit for Exodus, and after Trumbo won Oscars for his work, the blacklist was finally broken. The final credits show some footage of the actual Dalton Trumbo. I saw him running the lights at San Francisco’s Hungry I – I guess that was prior to his being sent to jail. This is a wonderful story of the writers’ struggle to protect their civil rights in spite of everything seemingly against them.

—John Sunier

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