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HUAC Meeting

"During the House Un-American Activities Committee's purge of Hollywood, liberal members of the Screen Directors Guild called on the guild to take a stand protesting the Waldorf-Astoria decree that brought about the notorious blacklisting. A meeting of the guild was held, with everyone, including right-wingers Cecil B. De Mille andMichael Curtiz, in attendance. The room was filled with tension. Early in the session one of the liberals moved that all votes be cast by secret ballot. As those in favor lifted their hands Curtiz rose to his feet, shouting, 'Take their names! Take their names!' In the midst of the uproar that followed De Mille jumped up and screamed: 'This is war!' De Mille and his supporters wanted each director to sign a loyalty oath and supply information on the political views of all actors and technicians employed on their sets. Both liberals and reactionaries struggled to seize control of the guild, and a storm of protests broke out on both sides. William Wyler threatened to punch the next person who suggested he was a Communist because he disagreed with De Mille. For four hours John Ford sat silent, although it was assumed he supported the right wing. Finally Ford rose. 'My name's John Ford,' he said. 'I make Westerns. I don't think there is anyone in the room who knows more about what the American public wants than Cecil B. De Mille. In that respect I admire him.' Then, staring at De Mille, he added, 'But I don't like you, C.B. I don't like what you stand for and I don't like what you've been saying here tonight.' He moved that De Mille resign from the board of directors and that Joseph Mankiewicz, the guild's president, be given a vote of confidence. Both measures carried, and the meeting was over."
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