Fred Zinnemann directed some of the most acclaimed and controversial films of the twentieth century, yet he has been a shadowy presence in Hollywood history. InFred Zinnemann and the Cinema of Resistance, J. E. Smyth reveals the intellectual passion behind some of the most powerful films ever made about the rise and resistance to fascism and the legacy of the Second World War, fromThe Seventh CrossandThe Search to High Noon, From Here to Eternity, andJulia. Smyth's book is the first to draw upon Zinnemann's extensive papers at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and brings Fred Zinnemann's vision, voice, and film practice to life.
In his engagement with the defining historical struggles of the twentieth century, Zinnemann fought his own battles with the Hollywood studio system, the critics, and a public bent on forgetting. Zinnemann's films explore the role of women and communists in the antifascist resistance, the West's support of Franco after the Spanish Civil War, and the darker side of America's national heritage. Smyth reconstructs a complex and conflicted portrait of Zinnemann's cinema of resistance, examining his sketches, script annotations, editing and production notes, and personal letters. Illustrated with seventy black-and-white images from Smyth's collection,Fred Zinnemann and the Cinema of Resistancediscusses the director's professional and personal relationships with Spencer Tracy, Montgomery Clift, Audrey Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, and Gary Cooper; the critical reaction to his revisionist Western,High Noon; his battles over the censorship ofFrom Here to Eternity, The Nun's Story, andBehold a Pale Horse; his unrealized history of the communist Revolution in China,Man's Fate; and the controversial study of political assassination,The Day of the Jackal. In this intense, richly textured narrative, Smyth enters the mind of one of Hollywood's master directors, redefining our knowledge of his artistic vision and practice.