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A Crime to Fit the Punishment

A film by Barbara Moss & Stephen Mack

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In 1954, at the height of McCarthyism and the Cold War, blacklisted filmmakers joined together to create the controversial labor film Salt of the Earth, despite strong oppposition from a fearful Hollywood and the U.S. government. A CRIME TO FIT THE PUNISHMENT investigates the background and political atmosphere surrounding the production of the film, and movingly chronicles the filmmakers' defiance of the blacklist.

Interviews with the actors and clips from Salt of the Earth - which presciently championed the rights of workers, minorities, and women - are interwoven with newsreel and broadcast footage from the 50s, creating a fascinating examination of the relationship between film and politics.

"This documentary and 'Salt' itself stand as stand as monuments to the spirit of resistance that animated those involved." Larry Ceplair, Cineaste

"The argument CRIME presents is well documented and convincing, occasionally funny, and often moving." Peter Ross, Detroit News

"Strokes as tough and bold as those of a mural by Orozco... The film pulsates with a feeling of actuality..." San Francisco Chronicle

Blue Ribbon, 1983 American Film Festival
Honorable Mention, 1982 London Film Festival
2015 Women's Film Presentation Fund, The Museum of Modern Art

46 minutes / Color
Release: 1982
Copyright: 1982

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
American Studies, Cinema Studies, Cold War Era, Labor Studies, Law, North America

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