The investigation of Hollywood by the FBI was a continuation of pressures first exerted in the late 1930s and 1940s by the Dies Committee and State Senator Jack Tenney's California Joint Fact-finding Committee on Un-American Activities. HUAC charged that Communists had established a significant base in the dominant medium of mass culture. Communists were said to be placing subversive messages into Hollywood films and discriminating against unsympathetic colleagues. A further concern was that Communists were in a position to place negative images of the United States in films that would have wide international distribution.
Files in this collection include investigations of mainstream films, informer reports, and surveillance of hundreds of influential writers, actors, directors, producers, union leaders, and studio executives. The investigations chronicle the working of major studios, such as Paramount, RKO, and Warner Brothers, and the power struggles between the studios, studio management, and labor unions.