Scene4 Magazine: Arthur Meiselman
Arthur Meiselman
As the Wheel Turns - A Publishing Event

February 2013

In April, Scene4 Books/AviarPress will publish "Hollywood Red – The Autobiography of Lester Cole". It's a Publishing Event because it is the first authorized version since it was published in 1981, and it remains a provocative, controversial, insider's look into the Hollywood "circus", the American political system, civil rights and the abuses of law enforcement.

It is a scathing measure of what has changed since then and what has not.

It was written by a man who refused to relent, refused to genuflect to the hypocritical authorities who persecuted and prosecuted him: Lester Cole

He was a New York playwright, a prolific screenwriter during Hollywood's 'golden years', a leader and the most vehement member of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten, an honored jurist at European film festivals, a teacher at UC Berkeley, and a film critic. Most respected among his nearly 50 screenwriting credits are his screenplays for Universal's The House of the Seven Gables and his most famous film, the popular Born Free, which he wrote under a blacklisted pseudonym. (You can see the list of his films at the D'Arcy-Kane Agency site.)

He was also a spur and a founding member of the Screenwriters Guild (now the WGA). He was a thorn in the side of the movie-moguls, especially MGM's golden boy, Irving Thalberg, who banned him from the powerful studio's realm. With typical historic irony, in 1947, as the Red-Scare began to envelope Hollywood, MGM's main mogul Louis B. Mayer attempted to dissuade him from his path of confrontation with the congressional House Un-American Activities Committee by offering him his own film as a director. He refused. Mayer promptly canceled his contract and gave his current project, a treatment and rough draft of "Zapata", to Elia Kazan (who became a famous 'namer of names'). Kazan brought in John Steinbeck to create a vehicle for Marlon Brando, Viva Zapata!, based on Cole's work. Cole never received credit for it. Instead, he ended up in prison for one year, ironically, along with the chairman of the Congressional committee that put him there.

His greatest regret was not achieving for screenwriters what all other 'composers' had and still have — control over their work.

Lester Cole's life was rich, complex, and full of intriguing experiences, some of which remain contradictory and unexplained. You can step into the details of a 'witness of the 20th Century' (1904-1985) in this raw and uneven autobiography, which reveals as much between the lines as it does in the printed words.

Scene4 Books has a pre-release discount of 50% off the April publishing price. You can take advantage of this Special Offer and take a closer look at this remarkable book at Scene4Books/AviarPress

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©2013 Arthur Meiselman
©2013 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Arthur Meiselman is a playwright, writer and the Editor of Scene4.
He also directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms

For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives Excerpts of his writing Here


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February 2013

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