Bryan Cranston is already being touted as an Oscar contender for Trumbo, a biopic of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, yet the man he plays had to watch on his living room TV set as screenplays he’d written but sold through front men—Roman Holiday in 1953, The Brave One in 1956—were honored at the Academy Awards. Trumbo was one of the industry’s most successful screenwriters when he joined the Communist Party in 1943; called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, he refused to answer questions about his political associations and was charged with contempt of Congress, along with the rest of the “Hollywood Ten.” After serving 11 months in federal prison, he spent the 1950s cranking out anonymous screenplays; one of his most durable partnerships was with the poverty-row studio King Brothers Productions (an outfit played for laughs in the movie, with John Goodman as a cigar-chomping hustler). Not until 1960, when producer-star Kirk Douglas gave Trumbo an onscreen credit for Spartacus, did the writer work under his own name again. Continue reading >>