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Protest at 'Moulin Rouge' premiere

Protest at ‘Moulin Rouge’ premiere

Dec. 23, 1952: Director John Huston’s political views are greeted by protests on picket placards as he and his entourage arrive for the premiere of his film “Moulin Rouge” at Fox Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills. The protesters were identified as members of the 17th District American Legion Un-American Activities committee.

The picketing was aimed at Huston, director of “Moulin Rouge” and starring actor Jose Ferrer. The Times reported the next morning:

The picketing was aimed at Huston and Ferrer, both of whom have been accused of Communist sympathies and both of whom denied it.

Placards carried by the pickets bore such messages as:

“The American Legion bans Jose Ferrer,” “The American Legion bans John Huston,” “Jose Ferrer Sponsored the U.S. Section of the Cominform,” and “Communist Press Praises John Huston.”

This photo was not published in the Dec. 24, 1952, Los Angeles Times but was later used in the 1999 Los Angeles Times book “High Exposure: Hollywood Lives – Found Photos from the Archives of the Los Angeles Times.”

In 1947, John Huston helped form the Committee for the First Amendment to protest the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings. The Committee’s efforts failed, followed by the blacklisting era. On the 50th anniversary of the hearings, the Los Angeles Times published a five-part series Hollywood’s Blackest Hour.

For more on John Huston check out this article on the Times’ Hollywood Star Walk database.

Dec. 23, 1952: Picketers in front of the Fox Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills during premiere of the John Huston directed film “Moulin Rouge.” This was one of three photos published in The Times on the morning of Dec. 24, 1952. Credit: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA

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