While few may be familiar with the Warner Brothers film, Black Fury, its release in 1935 sparked a national debate over controversial issues that affected millions of American workers. The year the Pennsylvania coal mining film was released, the country was in the midst of the Great Depression; unemployment was at 21%, a staggering number compared to the average of 5%, and 10 million people were out of work.i In spite of the ongoing Depression, an average of 75 million people, out of a total population of 127 million, went to the movies every week.ii As a highly influential medium, film was increasingly scrutinized in the 1930s; pressure from religious reformers prompted Hollywood to adopt a self-censorship code that monitored the political, social and sexual content of film.iii Despite this internal censorship, Black Fury depicts a strike, disaffected workers, and police brutality. The film was considered so inflammatory it was temporarily banned in several states.iv However, close inspection of the film’s content reveals a strategic avoidance of any bold labor-capital statement, yet it still aroused widespread disputation from both the right and left. In an environment of widespread poverty and hardship, the film exposed the divided opinions on America’s economic, social and political systems. Newspapers across the country used Black Fury to broach topical issues such as unions, Marxism and capitalism, censorship, and the line between art and propaganda in entertainment. An exploration of the paradoxical elements and the conflicting interests of those involved in production reveal how Black Fury was shaped into a product that exposed growing social and political divides in the country.
The making of Black Fury began in 1929 in Imperial, Pennsylvania, a coal mining town just outside the city of Pittsburgh. Since the end of the Civil War, Pennsylvanian coal mine operators had the legal authority to exercise control over their workers through the Coal and Iron Police (CIP).v Members of this private police force were paid and controlled by coal companies but commissioned by the governor for protecting company property. Operators were not particularly fastidious when hiring men for the CIP. A help-wanted ad in a Philadelphia newspaper merely stated “WANTED - able-bodied men to act as Coal and Iron Police”.vi The CIP quickly became problematic, as coal operators used them to break strikes, suppress union meetings, evict miners and intimidate protesters. The 1920s were especially violent in the Pennsylvania coal fields as CIP used brutal methods to break several national coal strikes. The situation reached a breaking point in 1929 when the Pittsburgh Coal Company Police beat the miner, John Barkoski, to death, leading to public outcry.vii Michael Musmanno, a state legislator at the time who would later become a Pennsylvania Supreme Court judge, made it his mission to abolish the CIP system. His short story based on the Barkoski murder, Jan Volkanik, would serve as the basis for Black Fury.
The film centers on Joe Radek, a Slovak miner in a western Pennsylvania coal town, who is happily working to save up money to buy a farm where he and his fiancée, Anna, can raise “pigs and kids”.viii Radek has no interest in the union and pays little attention to the dissenting talk of the newcomer, Steve Croner, who argues for the miners to rebel against the coal company. It is soon revealed that Croner is an operative of a detective agency; his mission is to instigate a strike to create a necessity for the operators to hire the agency’s guards as auxiliary CIP. At first, Croner makes little headway with the union miners, who counter, “Things ain’t as bad as they used to be, and they’re gettin’ better all the time”.ix This strategic line in the film implies that coal mining conditions were improving, and therefore, the miners had no valid reason to strike. However, Radek gets drunk and stumbles into the union meeting after discovering Anna left town with a CIP to escape the dismal and laborious life of a miner’s wife. In his agitated state, he sides with Croner shouting, “Sure - fight! Betchem my life, fight”.x His energy and rapport with the miners sway the vote and split the union. Through Croner’s persuasion, Radek leads the dissidents on strike, breaking the existing contract and forcing the owners to hire new workers and guards. This key portion of the film’s plot (which would be hotly debated by the American, moviegoing public) decisively places the blame for the strike on the profiteering detective agency, since Croner deceived both the miners and the operators.
Furthermore, the operators’ responsibility for the actions of their CIP is diminished by portraying the operators as reluctant to hire the guards. One scene depicts an owner warning the detective agency not to abuse the miners. When the strike collapses, the town turns on Radek, who is blamed for the failed scheme that left the miners unemployed and evicted from their homes. At the film’s climax, Radek stages a one-man strike after a vicious CIP beats his best friend to death.1 With the help of a returned and penitent Anna, he barricades himself in the mine rigged with explosives. His threat to destroy the mine unless the original contract is reinstated leads to an intervention by the federal government, and peace is restored. Because of this, Black Fury evades the controversial labor-capital issue by concluding the story with a return to the status quo.
Although the film avoided making an explicit sociopolitical statement about the issues in the coal fields, the New York, Maryland and Chicago censor boards banned Black Fury, deeming it “conducive to social unrest”.xi Black Fury’s production coincided with Hollywood’s transition to a strictly enforced code regulating morality issues and requiring deference to authority and government institutions. Created in 1930, the Motion Picture Production Code (Code) was Hollywood studios’ effort to neutralize calls for federal censorship and to counter the rising influence of state censors, who had the power to ban any film they deemed immoral or too controversial. By the end of the 1920s, Catholic and Protestant leaders, unsatisfied with these uneven state controls, began pushing for federal censorship.xii Hollywood studios adopted the Code in 1930 to disarm these advocates for federal control and preempt external censorship from the state and local censor boards.xiii By self-regulating film content, the studios could maintain creative control and ensure their films would reach the largest possible audience. However, filmmakers mostly ignored the Code due to a lack of an enforcement mechanism. Because of this, pressure from the Catholic Legion of Decency brought the appointment of Joseph Breen as head of the Production Code Administration (PCA) and enforcer of the Code in 1934. After 1934, the year Black Fury entered production, all films were reviewed by the PCA and required its seal of approval.xiv
An analysis of Black Fury’s production is necessary to understand how Hollywood’s internal censorship mechanism failed to prevent external censorship from New York, Maryland and Chicago. Multiple parties influenced Black Fury’s production, and each had distinct and sometimes conflicting interests in the content’s translation to the screen. Its inception occurred through a collaboration between Musmanno and Paul Muni, an actor who had already starred in the socially conscious films Scarface and I am a Fugitive from the Chain Gang. The two met when Muni performed in a play at the Nixon Theatre in Pittsburgh in March 1933. Musmanno approached Muni about the idea, stating, “I heard that you intend to portray a Pennsylvania coal miner...something should be done to acquaint the world with their horrible plight”.xv He explained the 1929 Barkoski incident and claimed it could be incorporated into a film, appealing him with, “You ought to use your talents in stories that will acquaint the world with the cruelties that exist … to the end that public opinion may form to obliterate them”.xvi Musmanno’s plan for the film was to raise public outcry against the CIP in order to pass a bill for their abolition in Pennsylvania. In the previous six years, his campaign against the CIP system had brought reform legislation through the House four different times; each time, the Republican Senate, under the influence of powerful coal industry titans, killed it.xvii Musmanno hoped publicity brought to the issue would finally apply enough pressure on the Senate to force its passage.
Muni had indeed expressed interest in a role as a coal miner. According to his biographer, Muni visited the coal town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1933 to research his role.xviii As a transformation actor, Muni would immerse himself into his character, performing extensive research for each role.xix His aversion to being typecast led him to continually seek out different characters. After playing Tony Camonte in Scarface, he refused additional gangster roles because he wanted a new challenge.xx This quest for “vital and lifelike roles” drew him to the coal miner character.xxi Muni wrote to Musmanno that “according to the newspapers it seems that the pot is boiling in the coal mining regions and now...is the time to produce a picture with the coal miner motif”.xxii Muni’s 1934 contract with Warner Brothers allowed him to reject roles he did not like and propose ideas of his own.xxiii Black Fury’s story would be one such proposal.2
Delighted with Muni’s interest, Musmanno set to work writing Jan Volkanik. In January 1934, he sent Muni a copy of the manuscript, which differs substantially from the final film. In accordance with Musmanno’s objective to eradicate the CIP system, Jan Volkanik portrays conspiring operators and brutal police. In this early version of the script, the operators, rather than a detective agency, plan to infiltrate the workers to instigate a strike that will annul the existing contract. Musmanno’s story contains graphic police violence and portrays perilous mining conditions. In one scene, a mining accident inflicts a lifelong injury on a fifteen-year-old miner. Notably, the story does not end after the one-man strike as it does in Black Fury; instead, Volkanik goes to Washington and makes a speech that leads to a negotiated settlement for better conditions. Ultimately, Jan Volkanik was an activist story designed to elicit public outrage and desire for change.xxiv
Muni’s response after reading Musmanno’s manuscript revealed his personal objections to propaganda and his understanding of what could realistically be made into a mainstream film. In a letter to his collaborator, Muni introduced his list of objections with the forewarning, “so—here goes violent, brutal criticism”.xxv He pointed out that Musmanno’s partiality made the story “smack of obvious propaganda”.xxvi He also criticized the story’s lack of realism by claiming that Musmanno’s hard-liner critique would prevent the audience from empathizing with Volkanik. Muni believed the story depicted the miners and operators in “extreme white and extreme black”. He explained these extremes would be unacceptable to Warner Brothers, who as “commercial men are going to handle this for the sole purpose of making money”.xxvii Additionally, Muni indicated that Jan Volkanik would likely encounter trouble with the censors; his experience as a film actor had given him a clear understanding of what content the censors would and would not allow. This criticism of his story distressed Musmanno, which he confided to his brother admitting, “I was so disappointed that I actually felt a pain in my heart”.xxviii Muni’s candid objections to the uncompromising portrayal of the labor-capital conflict in the coal fields presented the earliest check on Musmanno’s expectations for the film. However, he grasped onto Muni’s reassuring closing words that there was “so much vital life in the story that, notwithstanding its drawbacks, it can be welded into a breath-taking epic”.xxix
Muni may have also had personal interests for toning down the labor-capital content of Jan Volkanik. As a serious actor, his focus was on portraying characters that were realistic and believable. Muni had explained to Musmanno that an activist agenda in a story produced characters that appeared “manipulated by the author rather than himself and his environment”.xxx This manipulation could disrupt the realism of the character and by extension, his believability to the audience.xxxi When interviewers assumed he was left-leaning because of the type of roles he played, he protested, saying, “I have always avoided being brought in as a crusader. My politics is the business of acting”.xxxii Claiming a scientific detachment from sociological implications, Muni instead occupied himself with the realism of the character as an individual. This suggests artistic ambitions may have also motivated his efforts to moderate Jan Volkanik’s transition to film.
To craft a story acceptable to the studio, censors and himself, Muni enlisted the help of his wife’s brother, Abem Finkel, a screenwriter at Warner Brothers. Finkel’s “treatment” of Jan Volkanik, which “toned down the objectionable capital versus labor elements,” was submitted as a proposal to the reading department at Warner Brothers.xxxiii Muni introduced Finkel to Musmanno in late May 1934, after which the two maintained a steady correspondence while Finkel crafted the screenplay.3, xxxiv In his efforts to portray realistic conditions, Finkel consulted Musmanno frequently about Pennsylvania coal mines, miners and the CIP. At this point, Finkel became the primary intermediary between the studio and Musmanno, as Muni became immersed in work on another film, Bordertown.
The Finkel-Musmanno correspondence reveals considerable self-censorship in the screenplay writing process in the effort to preempt PCA and state censor conflict. The original screenplay was guided by their perceptions of what might be frowned upon by the censors. Though Musmanno did not write the screenplay, his influence can be seen through Finkel’s readiness to include his input. For example, it was Musmanno’s idea to insert the racketeering agent in the plot as a way to avoid blaming the operators for the violence and mass evictions that followed the strike. On June 8, Finkel wrote Musmanno saying,
we feel you are quite right about planting Croner as a stool-pigeon...we are going to definitely establish that the detective agency has sent Croner into the field under cover for the express purpose of splitting the miners’ union...this will tend to take the onus off the operatorsxxxv
Later, Finkel again emphasized,
the position of the coal operators in our story. We are going to make them as much the victims of the racketeers as are the miners...the story would not be acceptable for picturization if we made the operators the villains of the piecexxxvi
This firmly establishes that self-censorship occurred early in the writing process and that Musmanno actively participated. Musmanno also introduced and developed the one-man strike at the end of the film that brought considerable criticism from the left (which will be discussed later). Musmanno wrote to his brother that Finkel was consulting him so frequently that he claimed, “I have practically worked out the whole sequence myself”.xxxvii Perhaps Musmanno helped Finkel find ways to sidestep the controversial labor-capital conflict because he was convinced that meeting Muni and the studio’s objections was the only way the film would be made.
As an employee of Warner Brothers, Finkel’s correspondence provides insight into the studio’s moderating influence on the labor-capital elements of Jan Volkanik. During the 1930s, Warner Brothers had a reputation for making films about socially controversial issues, such as Scarface’s commentary on prohibition-era crime and I Am a Fugitive’s exposure of the cruelties of the Georgia penal system.xxxviii However, Warner Brothers’ films dealt with socially conscious subject matter only at the individual level. As author and film critic Nick Roddick observed, “The classic Hollywood style rested upon the individualising of social issues”.xxxix Finkel expressed the need to continue this tradition of hero-centric storytelling when explaining to Musmanno why the labor-capital issue had to be toned down from Jan Volkanik. He stated,
We feel that our story is primarily the human story of our hero, Joe Radek, everything else is background; and if any element of the background tends to overshadow the importance of Joe, that element must be so modified and changed until it assumes its proper relationship to Joe Radekxl
This suggests that it was in both Warner Brothers and Finkel’s interests to revise the broad social elements of Jan Volkanik to conform to the established Hollywood style.
Another entity concerned with the content of Black Fury was the National Coal Association (NCA), which was keen to prevent an unfavorable presentation of operators. The executive secretary of the NCA, J.D. Battle, wrote to Breen of the PCA in protest against the production of a film that he believed was an attack against the coal industry. Battle argued that the film misrepresented the situation between the operators and the miners because he believed that the conflict had been resolved long ago.xli Breen relayed this message to Warner Brothers, cautioning them to depict the miners as fairly treated and the operators as forced into action by the miners’ misjudgment.xlii This exchange indicates that the NCA believed film had a high level of influence over public opinion and could shape perceptions of their industry. However, it had little material consequence for how Black Fury turned out. The Battle-Breen-Warner correspondence occurred between August 29 and October 9 of 1934, well after Musmanno and Finkel’s June 8 agreement to remove blame from the operators. Moreover, Finkel wrote Musmanno on October 12 to tell him the screenplay had been “okayed by the powers that be; and strange as it may seem, it is still the same story”.xliii This approval of the original screenplay shows that the self-censorship efforts of Finkel and Musmanno satisfied the PCA’s interpretation of the Code.
When Black Fury began showing in April and May of 1935, it sparked widespread commentary across the country. Apart from the unanimously lauded artistic performance of Muni, the response varied from gushing praise to outright censure. The clashing responses to the film’s treatment of labor content reflected a nation in upheaval. The Great Depression had created a rift in Americans’ social and political ideology; capitalism appeared to have failed. Although FDR was implementing New Deal policies, improvement was slow. The U.S. would not fully recover until after entering World War II.
American laborers were greatly impacted by the slowed economy; union issues that had simmered beneath the surface erupted in 1935, creating a schism between craft and industrial unionism within the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The AFL was an alliance of craft unions, which consisted of skilled workers organized into unions based on job specialty. The harsh Depression years hastened the erosion of the AFL’s popularity because unskilled laborers, as well as women and ethnic minorities, were excluded from membership.xliv With the rise of mass production in the early twentieth century, the numbers of unskilled workers grew, increasing the alienation between the majority of laborers and the AFL. Consequently, organized labor membership declined sharply in the early 1930s.xlv There was an increasing demand for an industrial union system that represented all workers by industry. Bolstered by FDR’s support of the workers’ right to organize and choose their own representation, which was outlined in the 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act, workers began striking on an unprecedented level, often without the sanction of the AFL.xlvi In 1934, a million and a half workers in a range of industries went on strike.xlvii The workers’ movement provoked existing divisions within the AFL; the industrial unionists left the AFL to form the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), which would quickly gain substantial membership and would organize unions in the automobile, steel, rubber, coal, textile and electrical industries.xlviii These developments represented a major reconfiguration of organized labor in America, and the short-term instability and uncertainty heightened tensions between the rival factions. As a result, the public was increasingly sensitive towards any statement that appeared to advocate for a particular side of the union conflict.
Amidst this labor union upheaval, Black Fury was released. The film was highly anticipated since news of its trouble with state censor boards had appeared in newspapers weeks before. New York, Maryland and Chicago threatened to ban the film outright if certain deletions were not made, specifically the CIP murder scene. However, Musmanno promised to sue if any eliminations were made. He argued the CIP scene was based on “fact, not fiction...The people...would like to know about the brutalities and savageries of the Coal and Iron Police”.xlix By early April, New York bowed to the pressure and passed Black Fury without deletions; Maryland and Chicago followed suit in the next few weeks.l Unsurprisingly, some theaters used this controversy to promote ticket sales. Promotional ads in newspapers across the country urged viewers to “See it while you can! The screen may never take such a chance again!”li Press books, which were a manual for exhibitors to promote upcoming films, assured theaters that Black Fury would draw crowds since it dealt with “a straight-to-the-heart situation which has been headline stuff for years”.lii Media publicity and promotional efforts drew a large audience, which included a “record-breaking opening” at the Strand in New York.liii
Swept up in the censorship buzz and exuberant advertising, many reviewers hailed the film as a daring social document. W. R. Hearst’s Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph praised it as “grimly realistic” and “an industrial study”.liv In Missouri it was called “a thrilling melodrama about labor and capital” that was “exceptionally realistic”.lv Possibly the greatest exaggeration of the film’s social significance came from the Los Angeles Evening Herald, which claimed that the film “dealt frankly, honestly and sincerely with labor problems… and concisely explained the differences between laborers, employers and capitalists”.lvi These aggrandizing statements may have been prompted by the sheer novelty of seeing industrial labor depicted on film since Hollywood usually avoided the subject of labor.lvii
Some reviews of Black Fury reflected the political bias of the newspapers by interpreting the film as support for the AFL and a denouncement of non-AFL unions. Louella Parsons, a syndicated columnist for Hearst, claimed,
Black Fury never for a moment loses sight of the fact that the American Federation of Labor is a great institution and is doing a big work. The miners who desert their posts are not members of this great organization, but renegades who stir up trouble and cause untold pain and suffering by their ill-timed insurrectionlviii
This superficial argument betrayed ignorance of the challenges miners faced and the complexity of the union conflict. The Los Angeles Times commented that Radek was turned into a “Red enthusiast” by the combination of his girl leaving him and his heavy drinking.lix The film never once mentioned anything about communism, yet the LA Times interpreted a worker wanting to break away from the AFL as a “Red”. This suggests a perceived connection between non-AFL unionism and communism. Many of the California-based reviews revealed a bias against the strikers. This may have been influenced by the state’s ongoing agricultural labor battle, in which much of the media backed big business.lx
While some papers praised Warner Brothers as brave for broaching the sensitive issue of labor, others pointed out that the film refrained from taking an explicitly political stance. Time magazine argued, “Actually, ‘Black Fury’ is not courageous at all. To the body of knowledge about labor disputes, it adds nothing”.lxi It further claimed the film drew attention only because it seemed daring in comparison to most films, referring to the fact that Hollywood usually avoided the controversial subject of labor altogether. Although Time denied the film’s status as a ground-breaking social document, the magazine believed it fulfilled a movie’s primary obligation to entertain, observing, “Black Fury succeeds superbly in its real aim, which is to be exciting”.lxii
Some commentators went a step further, arguing that not only did the film fail to make a pro-labor statement, but it actually promoted capitalism. The New York Times film critic, Andre Sennwald, discussed his view of the “conservative propaganda picture” since it was “certain to be among the most violently debated photoplays of the year”.lxiii He believed Black Fury’s absolution of the operators from any blame for the strike offered a conservative alternative to the emerging left-wing ideology by defending “the status quo in the Pennsylvania coal mine sectors”.lxiv His mention of a growing leftist voice refers to the development and expansion of Marxist movements in depression-era America, during which the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) attained its highest level of support and membership.lxv
The strongest criticism of Black Fury came from publications on the left, which condemned its depiction of radical workers as criminals and its assertion that workers had no valid grievances. David Platt of the Daily Worker, a newspaper affiliated with the CPUSA, wrote a scathing criticism claiming there was a “malignant purpose” behind the film’s release coinciding with the brewing strike in the bituminous coal region.lxvi Platt felt strongly that Black Fury would be “expertly used by the coal operators as a club in an attempt to cower the rising militancy of the miners in the current coal crisis”.lxvii He called Musmanno a “labor betrayer” for his role making a film that indicted miners for standing against “corrupt unionism”.lxviii One of Platt’s primary concerns was that the film perpetuated the coal industry’s claim that there was no longer any controversy in the coalfields. Interestingly, this very argument was made by the National Coal Association in J.D. Battle’s August 1934 letter to Joseph Breen of the PCA.4 Battle had written to protest Black Fury’s production as a misrepresentation of the coal industry, claiming the film portrayed a conflict between miners and owners that no longer existed. Black Fury’s affirmation of the coal industry’s denial was at the heart of the left’s criticism of the film.
The Marxist magazine, New Masses, similarly called Black Fury “a calculated attack on the rank and file movement”.lxix By removing blame from the operators and ascribing it to profiteers, the film served to “further...confuse millions of workers and middle-class people who are already confused about the real social and political issues of today”.lxx New Masses was indignant of Radek’s one-man strike that presented no clear demands for improving the workers’ situation. Radek’s strike simply brought a return to the status quo, which implied there was no controversy to begin with.
The criticism from the left prompted rebuttals that further illuminated the country’s divergent labor stances. Kaspar Monahan of the Pittsburgh Press countered the New Masses condemnation of Black Fury, claiming that Warner Brothers should be applauded for turning the spotlight on “subjects hitherto considered taboo on the screen”.lxxi Though Monahan admitted the film skirted the most controversial labor-capital disputes, he was content that it was a small step in the right direction, stating it “casts a glaring searchlight on inhumane conditions”.lxxii He defended Musmanno’s role in the film claiming that although the operators got off easy, the film still succeeded because it “should be a lethal blow to the coal and iron police of Pennsylvania”.lxxiii
Others, like the left-wing Theatre Union in New York, held less lenient views on the social responsibilities of the performing arts. The Theatre Union was a worker’s theater whose agenda was to represent “deep-going social conflicts, the economic, emotional and cultural problems that confront the majority of people”.lxxiv Coinciding with Black Fury’s release, the Theatre Union staged a play entitled Black Pit, which also had a coal miner theme. Considerable discussion arose comparing the two productions since they handled similar content in strikingly different ways. Black Pit emphasized the powerless position of the individual miners and placed the blame squarely on the operators rather than racketeers.lxxv In late April, newspapers announced the Theatre Union was holding a symposium to compare Black Pit and Black Fury to “determine if the plays are propaganda for the miners’ union, the operators, the racketeer strikebreakers...or just to sell tickets”.5, lxxvi
Comparisons between Black Fury and Black Pit raised the question of whether actors had a social responsibility in their plays and films. The Theatre Union’s magazine, New Theatre, addressed a recent interview with Paul Muni published in the New York Times. In the interview, Muni discussed his objection to being considered “a sociological crusader among actors”.lxxvii Because of his role in films like I am a Fugitive, some assumed he was trying to make a social statement through his work. However, Muni explained that his interests were only to portray a character genuinely and convincingly regardless of politics.lxxviii New Theatre was “impatient and indignant”lxxix about Muni’s attitude since they maintained that the performing arts ought to “deal boldly with the deep-going social conflicts”.lxxx The Theatre Union believed art should convey a message, not merely entertain. Comparisons between the two productions provoked disagreements over the appropriate relationship between art and politics.
Black Pit’s author, the playwright Albert Maltz, joined in the public debate to call attention to the inaccuracies and propaganda elements in Black Fury. In the New Theatre magazine Maltz described the film as “incredibly inaccurate in its portrait of miners and mine conditions”.lxxxi Like the Daily Worker and New Masses, his disapproval stemmed from the exculpation of the operators, the portrayal of radical workers as racketeers and the whitewashing of the true coal town conditions. He criticized the one-man strike as “magnificently phony” and a misrepresentation of how strikes were conducted and won.lxxxii In a letter to the editor of the New York Post, Maltz argued that Black Fury should be considered propaganda, since it carried a message that “miners have no reason to strike”.lxxxiii Interestingly, his argument coincides with the more moderate Sennwald of the NY Times who called Black Fury “a conservative propaganda picture”.lxxxiv However, unlike Maltz, Sennwald approved of the film’s pro-capitalist message. He had referred to Maltz’s Black Pit in his April article when he stated that if “the Communist theatre is entitled to whack the existing order, then it is equally proper and perhaps even important that the capitalist theatre defend the American political philosophy”.lxxxv Both Maltz and Sennwald believed art could and should include an ideological message, but their consensus ended there. Sennwald described Maltz’s Theatre Union as “militant” and their productions as “that angry product of the left-wing theatre of action”.lxxxvi
While the public debates in the newspapers continued, another discussion over Black Fury took place in a more formal setting. Twenty-one members of the National Board of Review met in the Warner projection room to discuss the film’s qualifications for inclusion on their list of the year’s “exceptional photoplays”.lxxxvii Although the organization was started as a method of counteracting government censorship of films, the Board was dedicated to encouraging the artistic quality of film after 1916.6, lxxxviii According to the Board’s executive secretary, Wilton A. Barrett, “The field of the National Board did not lie in the realm of criticising the film industry and our work is that of a citizen group trying to encourage the best uses of the motion pictures”.lxxxix The Board put out a monthly publication, the National Board of Review Magazine, which included a list of its committee’s selected Exceptional Photoplays. The Committee on Exceptional Photoplays was made up of students, teachers and critics who evaluated artistically ambitious films.xc
The Board’s committee discussion in April 1935 can be seen as a microcosm of diverse national responses. The committee debated many of the same arguments brought up in the newspapers. Similar to the argument by the Pittsburgh Press, one thought the mere fact that Warner Brothers chose a labor-themed film was “encouraging,” explaining, “Remember we live in a capitalist country and they couldn’t do too much with it. In Russia they could do it differently”.xci This low level of expectations from a Hollywood production was not shared by everyone in the committee; some thought separating the coal operators from responsibility for the violence disqualified the film from any mention by the Board. The same criticism by New Masses of the whitewashed conditions in mining towns was brought up. The subject of unions arose, with arguments on both sides. One commented, “If I hadn’t seen Warner’s name on the film, I would think the American Federation of Labor had sponsored it”.xcii Others interpreted it as an attack on the unions, saying “the picture was...an expose of unionism”.xciii The results of the discussion - nine voting for mention of the film, four voting for no mention, and eight abstaining - shows that even among a small group of like-minded individuals, there was no consensus on Black Fury.
Committee member James Hamilton attempted to summate the group’s diverse response to Black Fury the following month in the National Board of Review Magazine. He acknowledged that “no picture...has stirred up so much serious argument as Black Fury” because it brought up the very issues the country currently wrestled with.xciv He argued that the conflicting reactions to the film simply reflected different beliefs of what America should be. He called the movie courageous for risking controversy while simultaneously conceding that it was unprovocative, because it dealt with a miner’s strike “in the gentlest and vaguest terms”.xcv His nuanced article took a moderate stance to reflect the varied opinions of the committee. However, his own reaction in the committee discussion was more marked. Hamilton had commented that Black Fury had no emotional effect on him, because he was “conscious that the producers had some sticks of dynamite that they were waving around but taking good care that they never exploded”.xcvi
Of all the different groups who debated Black Fury, the coal miners who inspired the story were silent. A search of the records of local United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) meetings during the time of the film’s release reveal no mention of the film. Instead, the meeting minutes show more concern with pressing day-to-day problems, such as unemployment, death funds for widows, operators’ refusal to pay for down time/dead work, and discharge cases.xcvii Tangible grievances left little time or energy to discuss a Hollywood film. The motion picture that aroused fierce debates among intellectuals, partisans, film critics and labor activists does not appear to have warranted discussion among the miners closest to the conflict.
Members of United Mine Workers leadership, however, considered the film potentially useful. Correspondence between Musmanno and Patrick T. Fagan, head of District 5 of UMWA, shows consideration over showing the film in Washington during negotiations for a new UMWA contract. Musmanno urged, “This would undoubtedly be a splendid way of bringing to the attention of National Authorities deplorable conditions in the coal fields...and would also open the eyes of the coal operators”.xcviii Though Fagan agreed and thought UMWA President John L. Lewis would too, a timing issue prevented use of the film since negotiations ended before a print of the film could be made.xcix
Although Black Fury did not receive any awards, it did help accomplish Musmanno’s objective to abolish the CIP with the repeal of the Industrial Police Act on June 11, 1935. The bill’s passage, which Musmanno publicly credited to Black Fury, made it illegal for companies to employ private police.c The film was mentioned during the UMWA District 5 Biennial Convention later that year when congratulating Musmanno for his efforts to abolish the CIP system. Assemblyman Frank Coolahan praised Musmanno, “whose ‘Black Fury’ brought fear to the obstructionists that brought results”.ci Musmanno had arranged to show the film to the legislators in the State House earlier that year. In addition to showing Black Fury, he had brought “a delegation of victims of the private police, including Mrs. Sophie Barcoski, widow of the slain miner” to further shame the legislators into passing the bill.cii
The rival interests working to control the portrayal of labor-capital relations in Black Fury created a paradoxical film. Although it was strategically manipulated to be uncontroversial, the content’s relevance to issues in 1930s America antagonized members from both sides of the political spectrum. The prolonged economic depression had deeply shaken people’s faith in American institutions; discontent with the AFL was growing, millions of workers were striking and support for Marxist organizations was reaching unprecedented levels. In this context of upheaval, Black Fury exposed a nation deeply divided over the issue of organized labor. While the political and social ideas were primarily debated by individuals far removed from the actual situation, one must not forget that the essence of the film represented issues that profoundly affected - and would continue to affect - real coal miners and their families. Although Black Fury would soon fade from the public’s memory, the controversy between miners and owners in the coal fields would linger for years to come.
“A Word with Paul Muni”. New York Times (New York, NY), January 27, 1935.
Black Fury. Directed by Michael Curtiz. United States: First National Pictures, 1935.
“Black Fury: Dynamic Film”. Los Angeles Times, May 24, 1935. Paul Muni Papers. *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Black, Gregory D. “Hollywood censored: The production code administration and the Hollywood film industry, 1930-1940”. Film History 3, no. 3 (1989): 167-189. Retrieved from http://pitt.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/74....
Blake, Ben. The Awakening of American Theatre. New York: Tomorrow, 1935.
Brody, David. Workers in Industrial America: Essays on the Twentieth Century Struggle. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
Butler, Frank and Robert Taylor. “Coal and Iron Justice”. The Nation, Oct. 16, 1929, 404. Retrieved from Explorepahistory.com. http://explorepahistory.com/odocument.php?docId=1-4-29A.
“Cinema: ‘Black Fury’”, Time, April 22 1935. Paul Muni Papers. *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Cinema Press Books on Microfilm. *ZAN-*T8 r.35. Billy Rose Theater Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Cohen, Harold W. “The New Films: Paul Muni Comes to the Stanley in ‘Black Fury’”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 27, 1935.
Coolahan, Frank A., “Address to Biennial Convention”, Proceedings of the 35th Constitutional and 10th Biennial Convention of the UMWA District 5. Held November 12-18, 1935 in Pittsburgh, PA, 216.
Clipping from Muni scrapbook. N.d. N.p.
“Curtiz Scores Greatest Hit in ‘Black Fury’”. Los Angeles Examiner, May 24, 1935. Paul Muni Papers. *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Dillon, Franc. “He’s a Fugitive from Hollywood”. Movie Classic. January 1935. Found in Paul Muni Papers. *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Dr. Mildred Allen Beik Collection. Manuscript Group 127, Special Collections and University Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Dubofsky, Melvyn and Joseph Anthony McCartin. Labor in America: A History. 8th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
Ellis, Peter. “Movies”. New Masses. April 23, 1935.
Eisenberg, Emanuel. “Paul Muni Denies All: and J. Edward Bromberg makes a comment or two”. New Theatre, March 1935. Retrieved at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Emery, Michael C., Edwin Emery, and Nancy L. Roberts. The Press and America: An Interpretive History of the Mass Media. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1996.
Green, Abel. “Film Review: Black Fury”. Variety 118. Los Angeles, CA: Penske Business Media, April 26, 1935.
Hamilton, James Shelley. “Paul Muni and the Labor Problem”. National Board of Review Magazine X, no. 5, New York: May 1935. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Isserman, Maurice. Which Side Were You On? The American Communist Party during the Second World War. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1985.
Jan Volkanik manuscript. Musmanno Papers, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Kline, Herbert. “Black Pit”. New Theatre, April 1935. Retrieved at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
“Labor vs. Capital”. Moberly Monitor-Index (Moberly, MO), October 26, 1935.
Lawrence, Jerome. Actor: The Life and Times of Paul Muni. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1974.
Letter from Abem Finkel to Michael Musmanno, June 8, 1934. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Abem Finkel to Michael Musmanno, October 12, 1934. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Barrett to Colonel Jason S. Joy, Director of Public Relations for the Association of Motion Picture Producers, Inc., July 10, 1929. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures records, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library.
Letter from Michael Musmanno to Paul Muni at the Schenley Hotel, March 8, 1933. Gumberg Library, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Michael Musmanno to Sam Musmanno, January 26, 1934. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Michael Musmanno to Abem Finkel, June 1, 1934. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Michael Musmanno to Sam Musmanno, June 30, 1934. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Michael Musmanno to Patrick T Fagan, March 19, 1935. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Michael Musmanno to Patrick T Fagan, March 25, 1935. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Paul Muni to Michael Musmanno, January 15, 1934. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Paul Muni to Michael Musmanno, May 7, 1934. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letter from Paul Muni to Michael Musmanno quoted within Musmanno’s letter to his brother, Sam, November 9, 1933. Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Lewis, Thomas T. ed. The Thirties in America. Volumes 1-3. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2011.
Lewis, William J., “Coal Drama Shown in Stanley”, Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, n.d. Clipping from Paul Muni’s scrapbook, Paul Muni Papers. *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Local union meeting records of Dr. Mildred Beik Collection MG 127, UMWA District 2 MG 52, UMWA District 3 MG 67, UMWA District 5 MG 66, UMWA District 25 MG 109. Stapleton Library, Special Collections and University Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Maltz, Albert. “Coal Diggers of 1935”. New Theatre, May 1935. Retrieved at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Maltz, Albert. “Black Pit vs. Black Fury: Which Play is Propaganda?”. New York Daily Post, April 18, 1935.
Minutes of the meeting of the General and Exceptional Photoplays Committees: Viewing of ‘Black Fury’ in the Warner Projection Room, April 12, 1935. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures records, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, 1.
Monahan, Kaspar. “The Show Shops: In Which We Go to Bat for ‘Black Fury’ Assailed by the Left Wing”. Pittsburgh Press, May 5, 1935.
Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
National Board of Review of Motion Pictures records. MssCol 2100. Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library.
Paul Muni Papers. *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Pennsylvania, John Purdon, Frank F. Brightly, and George Coode. Brightly's Purdon's Digest. A digest of the statute law of the state of Pennsylvania from the year 1700 to 1894. Philadelphia: Kay and Brother, 1894.
Platt, David. “Film ‘Black Fury’ is Vicious Attack on Militant Unionism in Coal Fields”. The Daily Worker, April 15, 1935.
Proceedings of the 35th Constitutional and 10th Biennial Convention of the United Mine Workers of America: District No. 5. Held in Pittsburgh, PA, November 12-18, 1935. McMahan Bros., Pittsburgh, PA. Pamphlet retrieved from Manuscript Group 66. United Mine Workers District 5, Special Collections and University Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Quoted in Finkel’s letter to Musmanno, Sept. 18, 1934. Musmanno Papers, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Roddick, Nick. A New Deal in Entertainment: Warner Brothers in the 1930s. London: British Film Institute, 1983.
Schoffstall, Martz. “Company Cops Wiped Out by Senate vote: Author of ‘Black Fury’ says Motion Picture Turned the Tide”. Reading Times (Reading, PA), June 12, 1935.
“Senate Stand on Iron, Coal Police Scored”. Philadelphia Record, April 24, 1935.
Sennwald, Andre. “Coal Mine Melodrama: ‘Black Fury’, due on Broadway this Week, is a Stimulating Social Document”. New York Times (New York, NY), April 7, 1935.
Starr, Jimmy. “Congress to see ‘Black Fury’”. Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, April 9, 1935.
“Symposium”. The Hollywood Reporter, April 27, 1935.
“The Coal and Iron Police Again”. New Republic 60, no. 771 (September 11, 1929): 87.
United Mine Workers of America District 2. Manuscript Group 52. Special Collections and University Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
United Mine Workers of America District 3. Manuscript Group 67. Special Collections and University Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
United Mine Workers of America District 5. Manuscript Group 66. Special Collections and University Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
United Mine Workers of America District 25. Manuscript Group 109. Special Collections and University Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Walsh, Francis R. “The films we never saw: American movies view organized labor, 1934-1954”. Labor History 27, (1986): 564-80. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,uid&db=bt....
Young, William H., and Nancy K. Young. The 1930s. Westport, CT: Greenwood. Press, 2002.
1 This scene is a referral to the 1929 Barkoski murder by three CIP of the Pittsburgh Coal Company.
2 Muni made all the contract negotiations. He submitted the manuscript to the studio, arranged for the purchase of rights to the play Bohunk, which along with Jan Volkanik provided material for the screenplay, and negotiated the contract for writers’ credits. See Muni’s May 7, 1934 letter to Musmanno. Musmanno Papers.
3 The letter mentions the recently established “direct friendship” between Musmanno and Finkel through Muni’s facilitation.
4 See the discussion of the National Coal Association’s influence on page 11 of this essay.
5 Although no record of the proceedings could be found, the symposium was to include the PA governor’s wife, Mrs. Gifford Pinchot, playwright Albert Maltz, Musmanno, several film critics, and three PA coal miners.
6 Refer to page 4 for details of the Board’s origin.
i William H. Young and Nancy K. Young, The 1930s (Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press, 2002), xvii.
ii Michael Adams, “Film”, in The Thirties in America, ed. Thomas Tandy Lewis, vol. 1 (Pasadena, CA.: Salem Press, 2011), 321.
iii Gregory D. Black, “Hollywood censored: The production code administration and the Hollywood film industry, 1930-1940”, Film History 3 no. 3, (1989), 167.
iv Francis R. Walsh, “The Films We Never Saw: American Movies View Organized Labor, 1934-1954”, Labor History 27, 568.
v Pennsylvania, John Purdon, Frank F. Brightly, and George Coode, Brightly's Purdon's digest: A digest of the statute law of the state of Pennsylvania from the year 1700 to 1894 (Philadelphia: Kay and Brother, 1894), 1696.
vi “Wanted”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 2, 1902.
vii Frank Butler and Robert Taylor, “Coal and Iron Justice”, The Nation, Oct. 16, 1929, 404. http://explorepahistory.com/odocument.php?docId=1-4-29A.
viii Black Fury, dir. Michael Curtiz (United States: First National Picture, 1935).
xi “New ‘Black Fury’ Ban”, New York Times (New York, NY), April 6, 1935.
xii Black, “Hollywood censored”, 170.
xiii Ibid., 172.
xiv Ibid., 167.
xv Letter to Paul Muni at the Schenley Hotel, Michael Musmanno to Paul Muni, March 8, 1933, Gumberg Library, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
xvii “The Coal and Iron Police Again”, New Republic 60, no. 771 (September 11, 1929): 87.
xviii Jerome Lawrence, Actor: The Life and Times of Paul Muni (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1974), 185.
xix Franc Dillon, “He’s a Fugitive from Hollywood”, Movie Classic, January 1935, Paul Muni Papers, *T-Mss 1967-005, Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
xx Lawrence, Actor, 259.
xxi “A Word with Paul Muni”, New York Times, January 27, 1935.
xxii Letter from Paul Muni to Musmanno quoted within Musmanno’s letter to his brother, Sam, November 9, 1933, Musmanno Papers, Duquense University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
xxiii Lawrence, Actor, 191.
xxiv Jan Volkanik manuscript, Musmanno Papers.
xxv Letter from Muni to Musmanno, January 15, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xxviii Letter from Musmanno to Frat (Sam Musmanno), January 26, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xxix Letter from Muni to Musmanno, January 15, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xxxii “A Word with Paul Muni”, New York Times .
xxxiii Letter from Muni to Musmanno, May 7, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xxxiv Letter from Musmanno to Abem Finkel, June 1, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xxxv Letter from Abem Finkel to Musmanno, June 8, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xxxvii Letter from Musmanno to Frat (Sam Musmanno), June 30, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xxxviii Nick Roddick, A New Deal in Entertainment: Warner Brothers in the 1930s, (London: Garden House, 1983), 73.
xxxix Ibid., 6.
xl Letter from Finkel to Musmanno, June 8, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xli Quoted in Finkel’s letter to Musmanno, Sept. 18, 1934, Musmanno Papers.
xlii Battle, Breen, and Warner correspondence quoted in Francis R. Walsh, “The Films We Never Saw: American Movies View Organized Labor, 1934-1954”, Labor History 27, 566.
xliii Letter from Finkel to Musmanno. October 12, 1934. Musmanno Papers.
xliv Mark S. Joy, “Congress of Industrial Organizations”, in The Thirties in America, vol. 1, (Pasadena, CA.: Salem Press, 2011), 197.
xlv Melvyn Dubofsky and Foster Rhea Dulles, Labor in America: A history, 8th ed. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 239.
xlvi Ibid., 249.
xlvii Howard Zinn, “Labor Unrest during the Depression”, in The 1930s, ed. Louise I. Gerdes, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press: 2002), 269.
xlviii David Brody, Workers in Industrial America: Essays on the Twentieth Century Struggle, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1980), 95.
xlix Kaspar Monahan, “Court Fight is Outlook if ‘Black Fury’ is Cut”, Pittsburgh Press, March 29, 1935.
l “New York Censors Pass ‘Black Fury’”, Pittsburgh Press, April 4, 1935. And “Chicago Censor Board Approves ‘Black Fury’”, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 19, 1935.
li “Black Fury promotional ad for the Capitol Theatre in Shamokin, PA.”, Shamokin News-Dispatch, May 4, 1935.
lii Cinema Press Books on microfilm, *ZAN-*T8 r.35, Billy Rose Theater Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
liii Clipping from Muni scrapbook.
liv William J Lewis, “Coal Drama Shown in Stanley”, Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, n.d., clipping from Paul Muni’s scrapbook, Paul Muni Papers, *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
lv “Labor vs. Capital”, Moberly Monitor-Index, (Moberly, MO), October 26, 1935. newspapers.com.
lvi Jimmy Starr, “Congress to see ‘Black Fury’”, Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, April 9, 1935.
lvii Roddick. A New Deal in Entertainment. 73.
lviii “Curtiz Scores Greatest Hit in ‘Black Fury’”, Los Angeles Examiner, May 24, 1935, Paul Muni Papers, *T-Mss 1967-005, Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
lix “Black Fury: Dynamic Film”, Los Angeles Times, May 24, 1935. Paul Muni Papers. *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
lx Michael C Emery, Edwin Emery, and Nancy L. Roberts, The press and America: An interpretive history of the mass media, 8th ed. (Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1996), 220.
lxi “Cinema: ‘Black Fury’”, Time, April 22, 1935. Paul Muni Papers. *T-Mss 1967-005. Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
lxiii Andre Sennwald, “Coal Mine Melodrama: ‘Black Fury’, Due on Broadway this week, is a stimulating social document”, New York Times (New York, NY), April 7, 1935.
lxv Maurice Isserman, Which Side were you on? The American Communist Party during the Second World War, (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1985), 205.
lxvi David Platt, “Film ‘Black Fury’ is Vicious Attack on Militant Unionism in Coal Fields”, The Daily Worker, April 15, 1935.
lxix Peter Ellis, “Movies”, New Masses, April 23, 1935, 28. Unz.org.
lxx Ibid. 29.
lxxi Kaspar Monahan, “The Show Shops: in which we go to bat for ‘Black Fury’ assailed by the left wing”, Pittsburgh Press, May 5, 1935.
lxxiv Ben Blake, The Awakening of the American Theatre, (New York: Tomorrow, 1935), 35.
lxxv Herbert Kline, “Black Pit”, New Theatre, April 1935, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
lxxvi “Symposium”, The Hollywood Reporter, April 27, 1935.
lxxvii Paul Muni, quoted in “A Word with Paul Muni”, New York Times, (New York, NY), January 27, 1935, 4.
lxxix Emanuel Eisenberg, “Paul Muni Denies All”, New Theatre, March 1935, New York Public Library of Performing Arts.
lxxx Blake, The Awakening of American Theatre, 58.
lxxxi Albert Maltz, “Coal Diggers of 1935”, New Theatre, May 1935, New York Public Library of Performing Arts.
lxxxiii Albert Maltz, “‘Black Pit’ vs. ‘Black Fury’: Which Play is Propaganda?”, New York Daily Post, April 18, 1935.
lxxxiv Sennwald, “Coal Mine Melodrama”.
lxxxvii Minutes of the meeting of the General and Exceptional Photoplays Committees: Viewing of ‘Black Fury’ in the Warner Projection Room, April 12, 1935, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures records, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, 1.
lxxxviii “Passionate Cinephiles for over a Century”, Nationalboardofreview.org. (Refer to page 4 for details of the Board’s origin).
lxxxix Letter from Barrett to Colonel Jason S. Joy, Director of Public Relations for the Association of Motion Picture Producers, Inc., July 10, 1929, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures records, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library.
xci Dr. Thrasher replying to Mr. McAndrew. Minutes of the meeting of the General and Exceptional Photoplays Committees, 1.
xcii Ibid., 2.
xciv James Shelley Hamilton, “Paul Muni and the Labor Problem”, National Board of Review Magazine X, No. 5, May 1935, 14. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
xcvi Minutes of the meeting of the General and Exceptional Photoplays Committees, 4-5.
xcvii Local union meeting records of Dr. Mildred Beik Collection MG 127, UMWA District 2 MG 52, UMWA District 3 MG 67, UMWA District 5 MG 66, UMWA District 25 MG 109. Stapleton Library, Special Collections and University Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
xcviii Letter from Musmanno to Patrick T Fagan. March 19, 1935. Musmanno Papers.
xcix Letter from Musmanno to Fagan. March 25, 1935. Musmanno Papers.
c Martz Schoffstall, “Company Cops Wiped Out by Senate Vote: Author of ‘Black Fury’ says motion picture turned the tide”, Reading Times (Reading, PA), June 12, 1935.
ci Frank A. Coolahan, “Address to Biennial Convention”, Proceedings of the 35th Constitutional and 10th Biennial Convention of the UMWA District 5, Held November 12-18, 1935 in Pittsburgh, PA, 216.
cii “Senate Stand on Iron, Coal Police Scored”, Philadelphia Record, April 24, 1935.