PAUL JARRICO Biography - Writers


Biography » writers » paul jarrico


American screenwriter who started his career in Hollywood in the late 30s. From             
the late 1950s to the late 1960s Jarrico was blacklisted on both sides of the               
Iron Curtain, in the United States and in the Soviet Union.                                 
Paul Jarrico was born in Los Angeles, California. His father was a Russian                 
immigrant, lawyer, amateur poet, socialist and Zionist. Jarrico started to write           
stories in his youth and while studying at the University of California, Los               
Angeles, Jarrico joined the National Student League, and then the Young                     
Communist League. He was an active member of the Communist Party between the               
years 1937 and 1951. In the 1930s Jarrico wrote scripts for the film No Time to             
Marry (1937), and co-scripted I Am the Law (1938), The Little Adventures, (1938)           
and Beauty for the Asking (1939).                                                           
During World War II Jericho served in the merchant marines in North Africa and             
Italy. In the 1940s Jerrico worked in Hollywood for MGM, writing scripts for               
such films as The Face Behind the Mask (1941), directed by Robert Florey and               
starring Peter Lorre, Men of the Timberland (1941), and Thousand Cheer (1943).             
Song of Russia (1943) was directed by Gregory Ratoff and produced by MGM under             
pressure from President Roosevelt to create sympathy for the Soviets in their               
wars against Nazi Germany. The Search (1948) was directed by Fred Zinneman and             
depicted the fate of orphaned children in post-war Europe. Not Wanted (1949) was           
directed by Ida Lupino and not the credited Elmer Clifton, who suffered a heart             
attack on the third day of the production. Among Jarrico's best screenplays was             
Tom, Dick, and Harry (1941), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for           
his original screenplay.                                                                   
In the 1950s a hearing of the House Of Un-American Activities Committee, at                 
which he refused to testify, blacklisted him. Jarrico's last major work in                 
Hollywood in the 1950s was the script for THE WHITE TOWER. It was Howard Hughes's           
attempt at grandeur, produced by RKO. The film was based on a novel by James               
Ramsay Ullman. In the pretentiously symbolic melodrama a group of people climbs             
an Alpine mountain. Glenn Ford played a cynical ex-GI. And Lloyd Bridges was a             
Nazi bigot. Howard Hughes fired Jarrico immediately when he heard that Jarrico             
had received the subpoena for the hearings.                                                 
Jarrico's passport was confiscated after his journey to London in 1951. His most           
important project in the following years was Salt of the Earth (1953), a union-sponsored   
drama about the appalling conditions of striking coal miners in New Mexico. The             
film was written by Michael Wilson and directed by Herbert J. Biberman - the               
only independent production made by blacklisted people in the US film industry.             
Salt of the Earth was subsequently blacklisted and its distribution was                     
prohibited, but later it has gained the status of a cult film. In 1958 Jarrico             
left the US and worked in Europe for 20 years.                                             
During the 1960s Jarrico used such pseudonyms as Peter Achilles and co-scripted             
Jovanka e le altre (1960), directed by Martin Ritt, Call Me Bwana (1963),                   
directed by Gordon Douglas, Der Schatz der Azteken (1965), directed by Robert               
Sidmark, Who killed Johnny Ringo (1966). He also worked for television                     
Jarrico returned to the United States in 1977 and settled in Santa Monica, Los             
Angeles. He has taught at the University of California, at the University of San           
Francisco and continued his career as a screenwriter. Among his later American             
works is the screenplay for J. Lee Thompson's Messenger of Death (1988), and               
scripts for television, including Ivan Passer's dramatized biography of Stalin (1992),     
starring Robert Duvall. Jarrico died at the age of 82 in a car accident                     
returning from an event dedicated to victims of the black list.                             
For further reading: Salt of the Earth by Herbet Biberman (1965); The                       
Inquisition in Hollywood by Larry Ceplair & Steven Englund (1980, 1983),                   
Hiljaiset sankarit by Matti Salo (1994) - Other blacklisted screenwriters:                 
Dalton Trumbo, Michael Wilson, Hugo Butler, Abraham Polonsky (director,                     
screenwriter, novelist).