to send your boys to bleed and die inrnEurope to make the wodd safe for thisrnindustry and its finaneial backers?” I’liernimputation here is too harsli, but again,rnNve is at least arguabh’ correct. Varietyrnreported that in 1939 the foreign marketrn—with England leading the way—rnaccounted for one-third of Americanrnfilm company revenues.rnThe motion picture industry shelledrnout $100,000 to its counsel, WendellrnWillkie, the barefoot boy from WallrnStreet whose 1940 Republican presidentialrnnomination was largely engineeredrnb 1 louse of Morgan henchman ‘I’bomasrnLamont. (We used to be such a little village.rnEamont’s .sidekick Dwight Morrowrnhad an ethereal daughter named Annernwho fell in love with the stubborn Swedernwho had piloted the Spirit of St. Louis.rnThis handsome public face of the AmericarnFirst movement, Charles Lindbergh,rndisliked his in-layvs and all “anglophilernbankers.”) Willkie called Senator Nye’srntestimony “divisive,” which meant, thenrnas now, that his shovel yvas hitting a littlerntoo close to the buried treasure for comfort.rnThe best witness was John T. Elynn,rnrecently fired from the New Republic, arnleft-wing antimonopolist and author ofrnthe best-selling Country Squire in thernWhite House. Elynn disclaimed any interestrnin censorship. What he decried wasrn”monopoly control” by the major studios,rnmany with ties to the beleaguered isle.rnUnlike Nye, who was no eincast, Elynnrnactually went to the movies.rnHe took a particular scunner to thernLiaurence Olivier-Vivien Leigh sudserrn’I hat Hamilton Woman, a romantic accountrnof the affair between Lord AdmiralrnHoratio Nelson and Lady FaumarnHamilton. I’he film glorified decadentrnOld World adulterers and pushed arnpro-intervention line with such clumsyrnearnestness that American moviegoersrnmust have exited theaters all afire tornhave their Republic declare war onrnNapoleon. (Gore Vidal has discussed,rnwith customary wit and percipiencc, thernpeculiar charms of I’hat Hamilton Womanrnin his recent Screening History.)rnElynn pointed out that directorrnAlexander Korda was a British subject,rnas was Charles Chaplin, a major stockholderrnin United Artists, which producedrnthe film. Counsel Willkiernlaughed at the foolish nativist; the nextrnday’s New York Times dripped withrnhaughty scorn for Elynn the gutsy liberalrnturned xenophobic nut. Years laterrnit was revealed—by his nephew Michael,rnamong others—that Korda had beenrnChurchill’s man in IlolKwood. SirrnWinston himself penned one of LordrnNelson’s overwrought speeches. Kordarnwas an agent of British intelligence; hisrnNew York and I .os Angeles offices werernfronts for his countr ‘s espionage operations.rnElynn was ragged but he wasrnright. Korda should have been deportedrnas a spy. While brave English boys wererndying in defense of their homeland, Kordarnand his ex-prostitute wife MerlernOberon were sunning themselves inrnBel Air.rnWitness Elvnn vas marvelous: hernspoke with acuity, asperity, and passion.rn”Why is it that no picture is producedrndepicting the tyrannies and oppressionsrnin hidia where at the moment there arern20,000 hidian patriots in jail?” he asked.rn”No, what we get are pictures . . . glorifyingrnthe magnifieenee, humanity, andrndemocracy of the Empire”—usuallyrnmade by subjects of that empire.rnWillkie ridiculed Elynn’s obsessionrnwith “the old monopoh humbug.”rnWithin the decade, the Department ofrnJustice would find that humbug to berncjuite real and order the studios to divestrnthemselves of their thousands ofrntheaters. But see how the ground wasrnshifting under Elynn’s feet: a WallrnStreet flunky was defending monopolyrnand war and foreign spies, and the liberalsrncheered.rnWhere Elynn and Ne went off thernrails was in pinning the blame on foreign-rnborn directors. Their anticipationrnof autcur theory is commendable, butrnfar more culpable were the screenwritersrnwho were, as a group, solidly pro-war—rnand mostly American-born. Of coursernthese bespectacled self-hatmg rumdumrnhacks avoided the abattoir themselves.rnHell, as Charles Montague observed,rnhath no fury like a noncombatant.rnIt is a curious forgotten fact that beforernPearl Harbor most “real” writers—rnnovelists and poets and essayists—yvercrnantiwar: Edmund Wilson, c.c. cummings,rnTheodore Dreiser, ILL. Mencken,rnRobert Penn Wiirren, Sinclair Lewis,rnWilliam Saroan . . . the list is long andrnmultifarious. Yet neady all the top Hollywoodrnscenarists were rabid for war, andrnthe exceptions—Donald Ogden Stewart,rnfor instance—were often CommunistrnParty foot soldiers whose plowsharesrntransubstantiated into syvords oncernHitler betrayed Stalin. (The most outspokenrnHollywood o]5ponent of Americanrninvolvement in the war, LillianrnCish, was virtually blacklisted for herrnpacific heresy.)rn’I’he dour Mr. Sherwood, whom NoelrnCoward dubbed “this nine foot towerrnof gloom,” was typical. A native-bornrngraduate of Milton and Harvard, Sherwoodrnwrote a series of pacifist-flavoredrnworks culminating with Idiot’s Delight,rnwinner of the 1936 Pulitzer Prize. ‘Thernplay is something of a screwball antiwarrncomedy. A motley crew—vaudevillians,rnnewlyyveds, a doctor seeking a cure forrncancer, a fake White Russian countess,rnand others—is detained at a mountainrnresort on the Italian-Swiss border as thernnext world war breaks out. Bombers arerntaking off from an adjacent runway; therndetainees arc desperate to make it intornneutral Switzedand. Among those presentrnis Achillc Weber, a munitions manufacturerrnwhom an idealistic youngrnErcnchman denounces as a “merchantrnof death” who has armed belligerentsrnon all sides. Sherwood has imbibed 90-rnproof Nye: at one point in the playrn(though not, signally, in the film versionrnthereof) we are told that Englandrninstigated this new war to preserve herrnempire.rnThe plas’wright evidently hates war;rnhe is capable of raw, brutal descriptionsrnof its carnage. Irene, the phony countess,rnimagines a pregnant woman in arnbombed-out cellar, “her firm youngrnbreasts are all mixed up with the bowelsrnof a dismembered policeman, and thernembryo from her womb is splatteredrnagainst the face of a dead bishop.” Thernline did not make it into the film. Norrndid Irene’s declaration of conseienee,rn”I’ll tell you what you can do in theserntragic circumstances. You can refuse tornfight!”rnThe film Idiot’s Delight starred ClarkrnGable and Norma Shearer. Released inrn1939, it was—despite the prissy expurgationsrn—the last of a string of 30’srnI lollywood mo’ies embodying the Nyeishrnbelief that we’d been tricked intornthe First World W;qr and wouldn’trnget fooled again. When Clark Gable,rna wisecracking American vet and twobitrnimpresario, sneers at the idea ofrn”fight[ing] to make the world safe forrndemocrae’—again,” he is rebukingrnWoodrow Wilson and his globalist heirs.rnSherwood was one of the few talentedrnAmerican writers who aligned himselfrnwith the New Deal; he even ghostwroternfireside chats. Bv the time Idiot’s Delightrnwas released, its author was blowingrn46/CHRONICLESrnrnrn