Dalton Trumbo film ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ to screen in L.A.
Timothy Bottoms in Johnny Got His Gun

LOS ANGELES—To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Dalton Trumbo’s 1971 movie about a “doughboy” horribly maimed at the frontlines will be screened. Based on Trumbo’s 1939 antiwar novel, this feature is the only film ever directed by Trumbo, who was “Hollywood’s highest paid screenwriter,” with credits such as 1944’s Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. In the 1940s Trumbo joined the Communist Party and became one of the Hollywood Ten in 1947. As depicted in the 2015 biopic Trumbo starring Bryan Cranston, Trumbo went on to help break the Hollywood Blacklist by getting screen credits for Exodus and Spartacus in 1960.

Johnny Got His Gun has a stellar cast, starring Timothy Bottoms as Joe Bonham, the disabled soldier, Marsha Mason, Jason Robards and Donald Sutherland. Johnny won two Cannes Film Festival prizes and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at a time when the U.S., under Richard Nixon, was still deeply mired in the Vietnam War. The Actors’ Gang recently mounted a production of the stage version of the novel, which is different from the movie that includes a major character not in the theatrical iteration. (See Ed Rampell’s interview with director Tim Robbins.) The trailer can be viewed here.

The screening of the 111-minute film will be introduced by film historian/critic Ed Rampell, followed by Q&A. Doors open at 7:00 pm, and the program starts by 7:30, on Thurs., Nov. 29. (Due to Thanksgiving, this month’s screening takes place on the fifth Thursday.) The film will be shown at the Los Angeles Workers Center, 1251 S. St. Andrews Pl., Los Angeles 90019 (two blocks west of Western Ave., accessible only from Pico Blvd.). Refreshments served. Donations requested.

Johnny Got His Gun is the November installment of Marx @ 200: The Marxist Movie Series, commemorating the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth with films by or about Marxists. For schedule see here. (Note: The originally scheduled German biopic Rosa Luxemburg with English subtitles could not be obtained, so another relevant film was selected for the Marxist Movie Series.)


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.