At a meeting in New York City, the 50 most influential studio chiefs and producers have decided to dismiss any employee who refuses to cooperate with the House Un–American Activities Committee (HUAC), or who they suspect harbor Communist sympathies.
The Production Code has been amended to ban all scenarios describing the life of “notorious criminals” unless the character is seen to pay for his crime.
Ronald Reagan is elected president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Using the “morals” clause in worker’s contracts, the Hollywood studios institute a system of “blacklisting” anyone who is a Communist, a subversive, or who does not cooperate with the House Un–American Activities Committee, thereby depriving those people of any future employment in the motion picture industry. The guilds and unions accept blacklisting as an industry policy.
The careers of 10 talented Hollywood personalities are destroyed when they refuse to answer the questions put to them by the House Un–American Activities Committee (HUAC). They are cited for “contempt of Congress”, blacklisted and, eventually, imprisoned.
Both movie attendance and gate receipts begin to fall sharply.
20th Century–Fox releases “Miracle on 34th Street”. Starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood, the film wins three Academy Awards.
Disney releases Song of the South”. James Baskett portrays “Uncle Remus”, and wins a Special Award from the Academy for his “able and heart–warming characterization”. Baskett dies only four months after receiving the award.
RKO releases “The Farmer’s Daughter” starring Loretta Young, Joseph Cotten and Ethel Barrymore. After appearing in movies since she was four, Loretta Young finally wins an Academy Award for a performance in a film.
20th Century–Fox releases “Gentleman’s Agreement”. Directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Gregory Peck and John Garfield, the film tackles anti–Semitism and wins three Academy Awards including “Best Motion Picture”.