Spanish with English subtitles
Recommended by EMRO. Read the review.
A War in Hollywood is a featured length documentary about the impact and influence that the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) had in Hollywood film production during the years of strife and the evolution of Franco’s image over various political periods: from the affection and support towards the Republican cause and the romantic vision of war by many liberal artists and creators, to the upholding Franco’s in the ’40s and ’50s. This evolution is also narrated through the personal story of Alvah Bessie, a screenwriter, critic and journalist who fought as a member of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, and his close relationship with the modern history of Spain at different periods of his life. The film has been structured in 3 acts divided chronologically as follows:
1) Impact of the civil war on American Society due to the fact that the Spanish Civil War was the first modern war one who was covered by mass media.
2) How the political perspective regarding Civil War clearly changes, parallel to the changes in American political developments and the witch hunt issue which affected to several scriptwriters and actors in Hollywood.
3) The return of Alvah Besie to Spain, where he actively participated in the contest with the Lincoln International Brigade.
The film includes scenes of several classic featured movies — such as The Way We Were, The Snows of Kilimanjaro or For Whom the Bell Tolls, among others –, and interviews with cinema history experts Roman Gubern and Patrick MacGilligan, actress Susan Sarandon, and Hollywood scriptwriters Arthur Laurents and Walter Bernstein. Together they weave a network of different voices that helps us understand both the complexity of the conflict and the vision, as well as the commitment of film professionals to a matter that goes beyond their artistic skills.
“First feature directorial effort by Spain-based docu producer Oriol Porta is a solidly crafted mix of personal narrative, archival clips and latter-day interview commentary that’s well-suited for international broadcasters.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“With excellent film documentation, irreproachable from the historical perspective, the best is the point of view from where it is told: the personal account and the statements gathered are fragments of a whole that is reconstructed in the editing of the film.” – Diego Galán, EL PAÍS