Synopsis by Hal Erickson
According to this made-for-cable documentary, stage and film star John Garfield set the standard for naturalistic acting that blazed the trail for such future "method" types as Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro. Lovingly narrated by Garfield's actress daughter, Julie Garfield, the film details the early childhood of Julius Garfinkel in the mean streets of New York, his fascination with acting, his absorption into the influential Group Theatre, and his ultimate journey to Hollywood, where as John Garfield, he earned an Oscar nomination for his first starring feature film, Four Daughters. From there, Garfield's star continued to ascend, unaffected by his internal battles with the studio bosses and his many marital infidelities. Yet for all his fame and fortune on the silver screen, Garfield was frustrated at being typecast as a "tough guy," yearning for more substantial, three-dimensional roles. With rare exceptions, such roles would elude him in Hollywood, compelling him to return to New York at the height of his movie popularity to star in Clifford Odets' Broadway hit The Big Knife -- ironically the story of a movie idol who had "sold out." Though extremely liberal in his politics, Garfield was never a Communist, but this didn't stop him from being persecuted by the HUAC in the late '40s, which led to his being blacklisted in Hollywood. Hounded and tormented by the anti-Red witch hunt of the era, Garfield's health suffered mightily, and by age 39 he was dead. In addition to an abundance of precious film clips (including rare footage of the actor's only TV appearance), The John Garfield Story features interviews from Garfield's co-worker's, friends, family members, and modern-day fans.
actor, blacklist, career-retrospective, childhood, film-clips, Hollywood, interview, Red-Scare, rise-to-fame