Corrections? In the 1940s, however, it fell to Lawson as a senior party apparatchik to enforce party discipline among screenwriters who were CPUSA members, making sure that they toed the party line and that their work adhere to the CPUSA's ideology, no matter how impractical that was in the Hollywood studio system, which was based on a collaborative factory paradigm in which individuals contributions were subsumed and muted by the mass nature of the constructed product.As a screenwriter, Lawson was able to inject politics into several movies, including his most important film, Blockade (1938), a story about the Spanish Civil War. If you are an extra in a street scene of a tenement district or in any poor surroundings, play your part to excite sympathy.". (Oscar-winning director Elia Kazan, whom Lawson would deride as a "stool pigeon" for cooperating with the House Un-American Activities Committee, was also an alumnus of that small, prestigious private college located in Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains.) GEDCOM Source @R250715129@ U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Yates Publishing Ancestry.com Operations Inc 1,7836::0 His papers are at the University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale, deposited in the Morris Library's Special Collections Research Center. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Howard-Lawson, AllMovie - Biography of John Howard Lawson, Spartacus Educational - Biography of John Howard Lawson, John Howard Lawson - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Victor Jerome was the head of the Party's Cultural Commission. His plays were subtle though unfocused attacks on the bourgeoisie. Eisler was the "boss" in his role as an agent of the Moscow-controlled Comintern, and thus outranked Lawson, who was not a member of the secret quasi-military organization. Lawson wrote scripts for films such as The Ship for Shanghai (1930), Bachelor Apartment (1931) and Goodbye Love (1933). He wrote such scripts as Action in the North Atlantic (1943) and Sahara (1943) and was the co-founder and first president of the Screen Writers Guild. After exhausting his appeals (his legal strategy dictated by party lawyers), he was sentenced to one year in prison and fined, resulting in his "official" blacklisting in Hollywood. John Howard Lawson is not the most famous member of the Hollywood 10, those filmmakers who defied the House Committee on Un-American Activities' inquiry into alleged "Communist subversion" in the Hollywood movie industry in 1947, but he was the central figure of the group--the mind if not the heart and soul of the Communist community in Hollywood. During his exile, he wrote a screenplay for the early anti-apartheid film Cry, the Beloved Country (1951) under a pseudonym. With a strong desire to assimilate, Simeon changed the family name to Lawson so that his children would not experience anti-Semitism and had them join a Christian Church. If there was a switch in the Party line, he explained it. However, as befits a Hollywood screenwriter who is but one writer of many assigned to a film, his credited work typically ran to more innocuous fare, such as the hit Algiers (1938).For his defiance of the House Un-American Activities Committee, he was cited for contempt of Congress. When he repatriated himself to the United States, he once again took up the career of the Broadway dramatist.As a playwright, Lawson was committed to the avant-garde, and he began using non-realistic play-writing techniques. He was also the organization's cultural manager, and answered directly to V.J. Seven years later, the Lawson-scribed movie _Counter-Attack (1945)_ (qv, paid tribute to the US-USSR anti-fascist alliance of World War Two. These people attended voluntarily and became known as "friendly witnesses". After the Second World War the House of Un-American Activities Committee began an investigation into the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry. He later portrayed problems of the working class: The International (1928) depicts a world revolution of the proletariat; Marching Song (1937) concerns a sit-down strike. (O'Neill got the credit for "reviving" the device, which had been used in venerable dramas; however, at the time of "Souls", O'Neil was studying dramatic writing at Harvard).In the period of 1915-16, he wrote three more plays, "Standards", "The Spice of Life", and "Servant-Master-Lover". There were ten productions of Lawson's plays on Broadway from 1923-37, all originals, and a revival of his second Broadway play, 1925's "Processional". Albert Maltz had been concerned about the lack of freedom of thought in the Communist Party for some time, and this was the trigger for the article he wrote for the New Masses on freedom of thought which was so widely discussed. These meetings ended in a stalemate. John Howard Lawson ran the Hollywood branch. An innovative though talky melodrama, this effort was discounted by Kirkpatrick as non-commercial. Publicity Listings John Howard Lawson is a writer. He was one of the "Hollywood Ten". |  These events reaffirmed Lawson’s interest in American cultural tradition, explored in The Hidden Heritage: A Rediscovery of the Ideas and Forces That Link the Thought of Our Time with the Culture of the Past (1950). A fellow screenwriter, John Bright, later recalled that when he first arrived in the area "there was no left-wing movement at all". Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. (1950s) Blacklisted by film studios after he was accused of being a Communist.