[Marxism] TRUMBO Film thoughts

Andrew Stewart hasc.warrior.stew at gmail.com
Fri Nov 27 20:11:43 MST 2015

I apologize if my original response seemed snarky or snotty, my bad.

As for Kubrick, I do not have access to the entire article but, unless it
is citing some archival materials I am not familiar with (a very likely
thing), I think the record on SPARTACUS is clear. I took a film class on
Kubrick at RI College and never came across Kubrick expressing interest in
much of anything except psychoanalytic theory and anti-consumerist
thinking. Kubrick had almost zero control over production, it was Kirk
Douglas's show and basically it was a color-by-numbers quick paycheck. In
fact, it was such a miserable experience for him that he moved to England
to get away from the American studio system shortly thereafter and refused
to produce a film unless he had absolute and total control, from script
approval to final cut. From thereon, he created what are argued to be his
masterpieces, starting with LOLITA, though I do think that PATHS OF GLORY
and the other earlier features he made before SPARTACUS were pretty decent.
This article is actually pretty informative (

As for the history of the Left and Israel, Jacobin magazine ran a great
article on this topic some time ago, (
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2013/04/palestine-and-the-left/). Even Noam
Chomsky was enchanted by kibbutz living and moved to live on one for a
while. I've recently been reading some material by Iriving Howe that
includes his argument that everyone should join the Democrats to push a
Scandinavian social democratic model and look to Israel as the socialist

On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 6:01 PM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

> On 11/27/15 5:39 PM, hasc.warrior.stew at gmail.com wrote:
>> The record is pretty clear on SPARTACUS, Trumbo actually had arguments
>> with Kirk Douglas over the script orientation, he wanted to keep with
>> Fast's original work and talk about McCarthyism but Douglas was on a
>> secular Zionist kick and wanted to make it about Israel. There is a Kubrick
>> biography by John Baxter that talks about this. Also remember that
>> SPARTACUS was filmed in Franco's Spain, so irregardless of Trumbo and Fast
>> being Reds, Kirk Douglas was not.
>> Best regards,
>> Andrew Stewart
> It has been many years since I saw "Spartacus" but apparently you are
> right.
> "Kirk Douglas, a passionate Zionist, wanted the history depicted to
> parallel the story of the Jewish people and clashed with screenwriter
> Dalton Trumbo, who was more interested in making the film a comment on
> modern-day politics and the Cold War."
> full: http://www.classicmoviehub.com/facts-and-trivia/film/spartacus-1960/
> Apparently it wasn't only Douglas who was a Zionist. So was Kubrick the
> director:
> http://adaptation.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/03/30/adaptation.apv006.abstract
> The only thing worth considering is that in the 1950s and very early 60s
> many people on the left, including Douglas and Kubrick, had not figured out
> how shitty Israel was. In fact a guy I know who is very involved with the
> Israeli left (his son is a refusenik) came to Israel in the mid-50s from
> Detroit where he was in the CP. He was under the impression at the time
> that radicals could help turn Israel into a kind of vanguard for radical
> change in the Middle East. He was obviously wrong as he would readily admit
> today but back then it was a lot easier to be fooled.

Best regards,

Andrew Stewart

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