By Matthew Ehret
In recent decades, barring a few exceptions, Hollywood (just like much of the mainstream media) has become a branch of the CIA and broader military industrial complex. While fake news agencies as CNN spin false facts to the intellects of mushy-minded Americans, Hollywood prepares the fertile soil for those false seeds to grow by shaping the hearts and imagination in their victims through the important hypnotic power of storytelling. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Red Sparrow and Bitter Harvest are just a few of the most popular propaganda films which portray Russians as the nefarious villains of the earth and heroically elevate the CIA to patriotic heights.
Hacked emails from Sony pictures published on WikiLeaks provided a smoking gun when it was revealed that the Obama administration had courted Hollywood execs to the task of promoting films to “counter Russian narratives” and all of this in the midst of a renewed Cold War terror which has led to attacks on Chinese scholars in America and an attempted coup against a sitting U.S. President.
YET, just as Hollywood can serve as a force of great evil, Kirk Douglas and his small network of collaborators demonstrated that it could equally serve as a force of great good. This is because films exhibiting a spirit of honesty and courage can bypass the gatekeepers of intellect and strike at the inner being of the audience rendering a people, under certain circumstances better patriots of their nation and citizens of the world.
This brings us to the important question of “what truly made Kirk Douglas and his small but influential network of collaborators so important during such a dark period of World history during the peak of the Cold War?”
Ending the Blacklist: Douglas and Trumbo
The above quote from a CNN memorial cited Douglas’s efforts to end the Hollywood Blacklist. For those who are not aware, the blacklist was the name given to the “untouchables” of Hollywood. Those writers, directors and producers who courageously refused to cooperate with the fascist hearings of the House on Un-American Activities run under the dictatorial leadership of Senator Joseph McCarthy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. By the end of the hearings, hundreds of careers were destroyed and examples were made of ten leading writers led by the great Dalton Trumbo- who were not only given prison sentences for defending the U.S. Constitution, but who became un-hirable for years after their release. Not only this, but anyone caught employing them were threatened with similar penalties.
In spite of that grim reality many of them continued to work under pseudonyms with Trumbo even winning two uncredited academy awards during the 1950s (Roman Holiday and the Brave One).
During this dark period, a network of brave film makers formed who worked very closely together for 20 years which centered around Trumbo, Kirk Douglas, David Miller, John Frankenheimer, Stanley Kramer, Burt Lancaster and producer Edward Lewis. Many of the films produced by these men not only carried stories which shook the foundations of the newly reorganized deep state, but also strove to awaken the moral sensibilities of Americans whose complacency had permitted the creation of a new Pax Americana abroad, and racist police state within.
Kirk Douglas responded to this early on by forming his own studio called Bryna Productions which created the anti-war classic Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960).
Paths of Glory told the true story of the unjust execution of several French soldiers who refused to obey a suicide mission during WW1 and provided a strong statement against irrational wars but also arbitrary political power run amok.
Set in 72 BC, Spartacus told the true story of a Thracian slave who led a two year freedom struggle against Rome and spoke directly to the civil rights movement in America and fight against imperialism more broadly.
What gave Spartacus its strategic potency to end the Blacklist was due to the fact that it was written by the leading untouchable “commie-lover” of America… Dalton Trumbo. Kirk Douglas’ last minute decision to use Trumbo’s real name was more of a risk than most people realize, and in later years, Douglas described this period:
“The choices were hard. The consequences were painful and very real. During the blacklist, I had friends who went into exile when no one would hire them; actors who committed suicide in despair … I was threatened that using a Blacklisted writer for Spartacus — my friend Dalton Trumbo — would mark me as a ‘Commie-lover’ and end my career. There are times when one has to stand up for principle. I am so proud of my fellow actors who use their public influence to speak out against injustice. At 98 years old, I have learned one lesson from history: It very often repeats itself. I hope that Trumbo, a fine film, will remind all of us that the Blacklist was a terrible time in our country, but that we must learn from it so that it will never happen again.”
When the newly-elected president John Kennedy and his brother Robert crossed anti-Communist picket lines to first attend the film, and then endorsed it loudly, the foundations of the Blacklist were destroyed and the edifice of 15 years of terror came crashing down.
Kennedy’s Murder and Trumbo’s Revenge
Kennedy’s death in 1963 sent America into a spiral of despair, drugs and insanity. Films like Frankenheimber’s Manchurian Candidate (1962), and 7 Days in May (1964) attempted to shed light on the deep state takeover of America but it was too late.
During the 1960s, Douglas, Ed Lewis, Trumbo and Frankenheimber continued to work closely together on films like Lonely are the Brave, Town without Pity, the Fixer, Last Sunset, Seconds, The Train, Devil’s Disciple, Johny Got His Gun, the Horsemen and more. Sadly, the cultural rot had set in too deeply and nothing came as close to the artistry of the dense 1957-1964 period of creative resistance.
One little known film stands out quite a bit however, and since so little is known of this small masterpiece, a word must be said now.
Ten years after Kennedy’s murder, Trumbo, Edward Lewis, David Miller, Mark Lane and Garry Horrowitz created a film which could be called “Trumbo’s last stand”. This film was called Executive Action (1973) and starred Kirk Douglas’ long-time collaborator Burt Lancaster as a leading coordinator of the plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.
Edward Lewis, who had also produced Spartacus with Douglas earlier, spearheaded this film which tells the story of a cabal of oligarchs who arrange the murder of John Kennedy using three teams of professional mercenaries (former CIA men fired after the Bay of Pigs fiasco). This incredibly well-researched storyline infused fiction with powerful facts and was based upon the work of Mark Lane- a close friend of the Kennedys, NY State Attorney, and civil rights activist (the only legislator to be arrested as a Freedom rider fighting segregation).
During a powerful dialogue between James Farrington (Lancaster) and the leader of the cabal Robert Foster (played by Robert Ryan), the gauntlet is dropped, as the true reason is given for the need to Kennedy in chilling detail: Global Depopulation.
Here Farrington is told by Foster:
“The real problem is this James. In two decades there will be seven billion human beings on this planet. Most of them brown, yellow or black. All of them hungry. All of them determined to love. They’ll swarm out of their breeding grounds into Europe and North America… Hence, Vietnam. An all-out effort there will give us control of south Asia for decades to come. And with proper planning, we can reduce the population to 550 million by the end of the century. I know… I’ve seen the data.”
James: “We sound rather like Gods reading the Doomsday book don’t we?”
Foster: “Well, someone has to do it. Not only will the nations affected be better off. But the techniques developed there can be used to reduce our own excess population: blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, poverty prone whites, and so forth”.
Although the film was pulled from most American theaters, it still stands as one of the most direct and chilling refutations of the lone-gunman narrative and is also the only film this author is aware of which showcases the deeper neo-Malthusian agenda underlying the murder of Kennedy which feared the optimistic vision he had threatened to create as outlined in my recent essay “Remembering JFK’s Vision for the Future that Should Have Been”.
The oligarchs attempting to play God in today’s world, just as their predecessors who oversaw JFK’s murder know that hunger, war and disease are not the natural state of humanity, but simply means of checking population growth.
It is worth keeping in mind that those same media and Hollywood outlets who mourned Douglas’ passing in 2020 are tied to the same perpetrators of this Malthusian legacy, and are deathly afraid of a renewal of JFK’s legacy of cooperation, and scientific progress led by today’s Eurasian Partnership.