by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Fellow Traveller (1989)

Movie Grade C-

McCarthyism Connection Grade B+

McCarthyism Connection
Fictional screenwriter Asa Kaufman flees to England rather than have to testify before the HUAC



Jack   C-
Roger Ebert   --
IMDB   5.5

   This English movie is about a writer who has to flee America before he gets called to testify before the HUAC. Once in England his best friend back in the States commits suicide after testifying before the Committee.

   The writer gets work writing for a Robin Hood TV show, but the scenes we see are, which are supposed to reflect what the writer is going through, are tough to watch (was TV ever that bad?).

   The rest of the movie concerns the writer trying to figure out what caused his friend to kill himself. To find the answer to this he looks into his own past.

   One of the prominent US writers who fled to England was Ring Lardner Jr., who wrote scripts for a Robin Hood TV series. Like several other blacklisted writers, he was forced to use a pseudonym to allow for American sales. There is also a legend that an analyst did betray his patients' secrets to the FBI.

   The movie ultimately gets bogged down in a Hitchcockian psychiatric solution to the plot which didn't work for me. The idea was interesting, it just wasn't carried out too well.