When the House of Representatives created the Committee on Un-American Activities, one of its first orders of business was rooting out suspected communists and commie sympathizers (really the same thing to the committee) in Hollywood. The studios cooperated, while many actors, writers and directors refused to talk. Dozens of filmmakers and stars were put on the committee's infamous blacklist and became unemployable overnight. The suspicion, rumors and paranoia of the '40s and '50s seeped into films, infusing the noir genre with these same qualities. The St. Louis International Film Festival discusses the phenomenon with a free panel discussion, Dark Days: The Hollywood Blacklist and Film Noir. Marsha Hunt (pictured), actress and blacklist victim, discusses her experiences in film and the real world, along with noir expert Eddie Muller, Francis M. Nevins (biographer of Cornell Woolrich) and contemporary noir author Scott Phillips (The Ice Harvest). The discussion takes place at 8:30 p.m. at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.cinemastlouis.org) immediately following a free, 6:30 p.m. screening of Joseph Losey's 1951 film The Prowler and Eddie Muller's 2008 short "The Grand Inquisitor," which stars Ms. Hunt.
Sat., Nov. 22, 2008