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Guilty by Suspicion (1991)

PG-13 | | Drama | 15 March 1991 (USA)
David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood Director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on... See full summary »

Director:

Irwin Winkler

Writer:

Irwin Winkler

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... David Merrill
Annette Bening ... Ruth Merrill
George Wendt ... Bunny Baxter
Patricia Wettig ... Dorothy Nolan
Sam Wanamaker ... Felix Graff
Luke Edwards ... Paulie Merrill
Chris Cooper ... Larry Nolan
Ben Piazza ... Darryl Zanuck
Martin Scorsese ... Joe Lesser
Barry Primus ... Bert Alan
Gailard Sartain ... Chairman Wood
Robin Gammell ... Congressman Tavenner
Brad Sullivan ... Congressman Velde
Tom Sizemore ... Ray Karlin
Roxann Dawson ... Felicia Barron (as Roxann Biggs)
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Storyline

David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood Director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and he is unable to work until cleared. Before being called, his highest priority had been his work to the extent of leaving his wife (Annette Bening) and son (Luke Edwards) alone for several months at a time. He initially refuses to implicate others or himself in a private meeting with Roy Cohn and a studio lawyer. This decision initially to stick to his principles first leaves him unable to work in his profession, even with films and producers he never would have worked with before. Harassment by the F.B.I. leaves him unable to work on Broadway, with advertising agencies, or even in a small film repair shop. Finally, having fallen so far, and tempted with a new offer to direct a film from his old studio (if he testifies), he agrees to go before the Committee, initially ... Written by Mike Harris <mharris@injersey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All it took was a whisper. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Schuldig bei Verdacht See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,278,290, 17 March 1991

Gross USA:

$9,480,198

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,480,198
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro and Tom Sizemore appeared in Heat (1995). See more »

Goofs

Before going to London, Joe is seen editing the classic The Boy with the Green Hair, but the movie was already released in 1948 and Guilty by Suspicion story takes place in the 1950's. See more »

Quotes

David Merrill: Upset? Why should I be upset? You've only ruined my life. Why should I be upset?
See more »

Connections

References Viva Zapata! (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

EASY COME, EASY GO
Written by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman
Performed by Dianne Reeves
Courtesy of EMI
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User Reviews

 
Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been........?
19 September 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

It's almost impossible to write any kind of objective film about the blacklist, the wounds of it run deep in show business. Guilty By Suspicion has no pretense to objectivity, neither does that John Wayne epic Big Jim McLain which was favorable to the House Un American Activities Committee.

Those who gave testimony at HUAC did so for a variety of motives. Some like Adolphe Menjou wanted the blacklist for everyone to the left of Herbert Hoover. Some like Robert Taylor felt they were doing a patriotic service. Some under the threat of not being able to work as artists in their chosen profession named names before HUAC. A very select few said stick it in your ear.

If there any guilty parties it's not the artists whatever their political persuasion. It was the studio bosses and one of them, Darryl F. Zanuck is played here by Ben Piazza, who gave in without exception to HUAC and cooperated in the blacklist, who pitted the people of various political persuasions against each other. Sad to say that's not really demonstrated here in Guilty By Suspicion.

The members of HUAC were 95% on the political right of both parties. The Democrats were mostly southerners and the Republicans were on the right in their party. The liberals of either party had more constructive ways to spend their time in Congess.

Guilty By Suspicion tells the story of Robert DeNiro as a fictional film director who gets blacklisted because of secret hearing testimony given by Chris Cooper. His struggle to find work turns positively Kafkaesque until he agrees to go before the committee.

DeNiro strikes all the right notes in his performance and is aided and abetted by the performance of Annette Bening as his estranged wife. Acting honors however go to Patricia Wettig who plays a distraught blacklisted actress with a drinking problem to start with.

Guilty By Suspicion is not the ultimate telling of the blacklist's story, but it's still pretty good and does get a feel for the times the story is set in.


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