HOLLYWOOD'S BLACKLISTED WRITERS STRUGGLE FOR CREDIT
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — Four decades after blacklisting forced many of Hollywood's best screenwriters underground, some of the unjustly accused authors have yet to receive proper credit for the movies they wrote.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) this month acknowledged Michael Wilson as the co-writer (with Robert Bolt) of ''Lawrence of Arabia'' (1962). But several other well-known films - including ''Odds Against Tomorrow'' (1959), ''El Cid'' (1961), and ''The Beguiled'' (1971) - are still credited to either aliases or ''front'' writers.
Blacklisting lasted from the late 1940s to the early '60s, and a few banned writers did not use their real names until the '70s. During the Red Scare, a list of suspected communist sympathizers was distributed by the American Legion.
The WGA has tried to rectify blacklisted credits, but its progress has been slow. For example, the WGA's official credits on the 1952 film ''Las Vegas Story'' make no mention of screenwriter Paul Jarrico's contributions, crediting the story to three other writers.
''I'm really amazed that the credits [the WGA still] quotes are wrong,'' Mr. Jarrico says. ''What the guild should be encouraged to do is have a more thorough examination of all the blacklisted credits. There are literally dozens of films with pseudonyms or fronts whose credits need to be corrected.''
The guild, the ultimate arbiter of motion-picture credits, established a Blacklisted Writers Committee in the 1980s and has been instrumental in restoring some credits.
Al Levitt, a blacklisted writer himself, was the committee chairman during the '80s. Many people, Mr. Levitt says, were reluctant to reexamine the blacklists, and such hesitation bogged down progress. ''My wife and I very consciously tried not to keep our minds in that period. We survived it - let's go on with the rest of our lives,'' he says. Still, he adds, writers should not be forgotten.
Del Reisman, guild member and former WGA president, says he is unaware of any blacklist credits under review. But a check of WGA records by the Associated Press shows several cases, including ''El Cid,'' ''The Beguiled,'' ''The Robe'' (1953), and ''The Possession of Joel Delaney'' (1972).
Cheryl Rhoden, a spokeswoman for the WGA, says, ''It's a very difficult process and an ongoing process. Whether the whole record will ever be changed, I can't say.''