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Free Film: Salt of the Earth

Speed Art Museum
Event organized by Speed Art Museum

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Essential Cinema: Hollywood Blacklist

Salt of the Earth
Directed by Herbert J. Biberman

Sunday, April 22, 12:30 pm


The Red Scare of the 1950s resulted in the blacklisting of many members of the Hollywood film industry including the writer, director, and producer of this film. It was seen as so subversive at the time that film labs were told not to work on the footage and union projectionists were told not to screen it.

Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. In the end, the greatest victory for the workers and their families is the realization that prejudice and poor treatment are conditions that are not always imposed by outside forces.

The film languished for decades and eventually entered the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1992. 1954, U.S., 16mm, in English and Spanish, 94 minutes.

With an introduction and post-screening discussion by Seymour Slavin, Professor Emeritus, Social Work-Social Policy, University of Louisville. Dr. Slavin will be discussing the film’s relationship to the Hollywood Blacklist of the 1950s.