Keeping Faith

In November of 1969, Sister Catherine Cesnik left the apartment she shared with another nun in Baltimore. Her younger sister had gotten engaged, and she wanted to purchase a gift for her. Sister Cathy was never seen alive again. In January, her body was found in a field, the side of her skull smashed in.

Decades later, two former students at the school where Sister Cathy taught launched a Facebook page seeking justice for her and for another young woman who disappeared at nearly the same time. Joyce Malecki was twenty years old when she disappeared. Her body was found after a few weeks on the property of a US Army base, which originally made it an FBI case. But as with Sister Cathy, nothing happened in regard to discovering who killed her or why she died. The former students, Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub, had warm memories of Sister Cathy, who was in her mid-twenties. She taught English at Archbishop Keough, a Catholic girl’s high school, and she was approachable and concerned about the students. So they created the Facebook page “Justice for Catherine Cesnik and Joyce Malecki” in the hopes of finding leads to whoever killed the young women. What they found was a story of systemic abuse and collusion between the Diocese of Baltimore and the political and legal institutions of the state to cover up what went on.

Now Netflix is showing “The Keepers,” a seven-part documentary on the case. Recently there have been documentaries on killers, such as Netflix’s “Making of a Murderer” and HBO’s “The Jinx,” that focus on the suspect. Instead, “The Keepers” focuses on the victims and those who have dedicated themselves to the investigation. It is riveting viewing.

Director Ryan White has managed to organize in a logical progression a story that’s spread out over 50 years and covers a huge canvas. The first hour introduces the viewer to Gemma and Abbie, and to Sister Catherine and Joyce. It gives context to their world in 1969, and then gives the details of the disappearances and eventual discovery of the bodies. It’s fairly straightforward, though it hints at deeper strains to the story, such as when the former supervising officer on the case takes Gemma and Abbie to the place where Sister Cathy’s body was found. There’s a palpable anger within Gemma, even as she smiles and converses with the retired officer. Later we understand why.

But it’s the second hour that grabs you by the throat, and the documentary won’t let go from then on. The former chaplain of the school, Father Maskell, ruthlessly abused and raped the girls under his care. Multiple women share what happened to them, including how Maskell would invite other men, including police officers, to abuse the girls as well. Maskell was the chaplain to the Baltimore Police Department, among other assignments that insulated him from suspicion. Central to the story is one woman who would eventually sue the diocese under the name Jane Doe, whose memories (like many abuse victims) were suppressed by her mind for twenty years before they finally began to surface. One of the memories that come back is Maskell taking her to Cathy’s body a few days after her disappearance and threatening her with a similar fate.

Two years ago “Spotlight” won the Best Picture Oscar (deservedly) for its story of the Boston Globe’s breaking the priest abuse scandal wide open. The only town that could compete with Boston for the level of the Catholic Church’s entrenched power is Baltimore. Maryland was founded as a Catholic colony, a place of refuge for English papists from the hegemony of the Church of England. Just as in Boston, the church could make abuse complaints disappear. Worse, as the documentary illustrates clearly, they are still doing it to this day.

“The Keepers” is a story that will infuriate, as documentation and evidence goes missing or is “accidentally” destroyed, and where the church blindly ignores complaints while, just as in Boston, moving the offending priest to a different assignment. But in the end it is also a story of endurance and faith in justice if not in the justice system. It’s a story that needs to be seen to clear away the obfuscation and victim-shaming that’s still employed by the diocese to keep a lid on the scandal. But mostly it’s the story of people who kept faith with Sister Cathy and Joyce Malecki. I heartily recommend it.

A Quick But Satisfying Bite

I missed The Shallows when it was in theaters last year. I’d wanted to see it since it received good word-of-mouth and a decent Rotten Tomatoes rating in the mid-seventies. Jaws has been a favorite movie of mine since I first saw it in 1975, at the same time I was reading the book. Another one I enjoyed was Open Water, a film that effectively mined the primal terror engendered by sharks, and raked in $30 million on a budget of $120,000. I figured The Shallows would be in a similar vein. Now it’s come to Starz so I was able to catch it (you could say).

Working from a script by Anthony Jaswinski, Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra has crafted a tight and focused movie. He’s done both horror and thrillers in the past, helming Orphan, Unknown, and Non-Stop. The Shallows has one main character and a handful of supporting roles, so the burden for making the film work is on Blake Lively. She’s on screen for almost every second of the film’s 86 minute running time. Think The Revenant in a warm climate.

Lively plays Nancy, a medical student who’s dealing with the loss of her mother. She’s gone in search of a special beach in Mexico that her mother had visited when she was Nancy’s age. With the help of Carlos (Oscar Jaenada) , Nancy finds the beach and then surfs the cove there with a couple of locals. She stays out when they leave to make a last run, but during it she’s attacked by a Great White that slashes open her thigh. Only 200 yards from shore, she finds herself in an ultimate fight for survival.

Collet-Serra follows the playbook that Spielberg accidentally wrote. Bruce, the mechanical shark of Jaws, malfunctioned so often it only makes brief appearances in the film, which increased the terror. With a CGI shark, there aren’t any of the problems that plagued Spielberg, but Collet-Serra still limits its appearances to a total of 4 minutes screen time. Instead the horror is communicated by a blossom of blood in the water, or Lively’s reaction to a would-be rescuer’s fate. (Collet-Serra does, though, give a short cut that rivals the dropping foot in Jaws.)

Lively demonstrated with Age of Adeline that she had the strength as an actor to hold a film. While she is a classic beauty who summons up memories of the classic Hollywood stars of the 1940s like Lauren Bacall or Veronica Lake, she matches those looks with intelligence and determination. In 1999, the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough featured Denise Richards cast as a nuclear scientist. It was truly painful to watch. Here, though, it’s no stretch to believe Lively as a medical student. She took the role partly because of her husband Ryan Reynolds’ similar minimalist film, 2010’s Buried. With one exception she did her own stunts throughout the movie. At one point late in the film she winds up with a bloody nose; that actually happened and it’s her blood. The exception: Lively didn’t know how to surf, even though she was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, just over the hills from Malibu. A professional was brought in for the scenes when she was actually surfing.

Much of the filming was done in a tank with green screen. For anyone who’s studied the filming of Jaws, you know open water filming can be deadly for a budget. It came close to scuttling Spielberg’s career before it ever got going. Collet-Serra, though, did some location filming along the Gold Coast of Australia, substituting for Mexico, and included actual footage in every green screen scene.

This taut film did well in the theaters, grossing over three times its budget. If you’re an aficionado of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, or if you like thrillers that actually do thrill, make sure you check out this film.

The Rule On Gold

I’d missed Woman in Gold when it was released in 2015. It disappeared from the theaters in my area so rapidly I missed my chance. The film did make $33 Million in the US. That’s a flop for a Hollywood picture, but the BBC Films production was made on a budget of only $11 Million so it was a financial success. It has now come to Netflix so I finally got the chance to see it.

The theft of art treasures by the Nazis during World War II has been covered before. In 1964 John Frankenheimer directed The Train, starring Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield, about the French Resistance trying to stop a train headed to Germany loaded with art treasures. More recently there was George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, a fictionalized story based on the special Allied force set up to recover and return art treasures that had been looted. What separates Woman in Gold is that it’s a true story where what happened after the war is as injust as what happened during the Nazi period. It also focuses mainly on one family and one masterpiece, and the fight to return it to the rightful owner.

When her sister dies, octogenarian Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) discovers paperwork that reveals her sibling tried to recover a painting taken during the war. Since then the canvas was on display in Austria’s national gallery, housed in the Belvedere Palace. The Gustav Klimt painting is correctly titled “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” though it is nicknamed “The Woman In Gold” because of Klimt’s extensive use of gold leaf for the portrait. (The “I” at the end of the title is because Klimt did two portraits of Bloch-Bauer, the only time he ever painted the same model twice.) To Maria, though, the portrait was her Aunt Adele, who was like a second mother to Maria and her sister until Adele’s untimely death from meningitis in 1925. Maria has lived in Southern California ever since she and her husband escaped from Austria shortly before the war. Through another ex-pat, she’s put in contact with attorney Randy Schoenburg (Ryan Reynolds). Randy has his own connection to Austria, as his grandfather was composer Arnold Schoenburg who developed the 12-tone form of composition. Schoenburg had left Europe in 1934 following Hilter’s ascension to power, eventually settling in California and teaching at UCLA. Randy learns Austria has recently formed a reparations panel to deal with looted pieces of art, but the state is loath to let go of the painting, a certified masterpiece that’s viewed as an Austrian treasure.

The movie moves through three periods. There are a few scenes of Maria as a child interacting with Adele, but the main contrast to the modern day story is Maria as a young woman and new bride at the time of Austria’s annexation into the German Reich in 1938. Maria is played at that time by Tatiana Maslany, the star of “Orphan Black.” Adele’s husband, Maria’s uncle, is more clear-eyed about the threat of Hitler than the rest of the Viennese Jewish community and escapes to Zurich. After the Anschluss travel is forbidden for Jews and the laws that would eventually lead to the Holocaust are put in place. The contrast is set with the older Maria having to return to Austria to pursue her claim while the younger Maria must find a way to escape her homeland.

Besides the main characters, the movie has a plethora of fine performers in supporting roles. A key ally for Maria and Randy is Hubertus Czernin, played by Daniel Bruhl. Czernin was an investigative reporter in Vienna who helped expose the Nazi past of Austrian President and former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim. Randy’s wife Pam is played by Katie Holmes, and the film also features Charles Dance, Jonathan Pryce, Frances Fisher, and Elizabeth McGovern.

As always, Mirren is a delight to watch on the screen with her deft touch in characterization. She’s like a wine that grows in subtle flavor as it ages. Reynolds holds his own with Mirren. He’s known in particular for comedy, especially after the success of Deadpool, but he can handle the less showy, more complex roles just as well. It took me a while to realize I was watching Maslany, even though I’ve been a fan of Orphan Black since the beginning. She disappears into roles, but you can see the Maria that Mirren portrays clearly in Maslany’s performance.

The film was directed by Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) from a script by first-time screenwriter Alei Kaye Campbell, who’d mostly worked as an actor before this. Credit’s also given to the real life Maria Altmann and E. Randol (Randy) Schoenburg for their lives as basis for the screenplay, which is unusual but makes perfect sense once you see the movie.

Woman in Gold may not have been more successful since people thought of it as a Holocaust story. Last year’s Denial with Rachel Weisz, which dealt with Holocaust denial, made $4 Million on about the same budget as Gold. But Gold is equal parts legal thriller and escape story, and it is well worth a viewing on Netflix or in any other way available.

High Water Mark

I do enjoy a well-done disaster flick, not to be confused with a flick that’s a disaster. Historically this genre is the province of Hollywood, with studios laying out big bucks for special effects, but the digital revolution has broken borders. Some of the premier SFX houses are spread around the globe, like Weta Workshop in New Zealand. A great example of disaster films breaking out of Hollywood is 2015’s The Wave, which is now available on Netflix.

Just as American films focus on possible disasters in the United States like the recent San Andreas (earthquakes) and Into the Storm (tornadoes), this Norwegian film deals with a disaster on the home front – in this case a massive landslide into a narrow fjord that sets off a mammoth tsunami. Indeed, the film opens by citing earlier instances of this taking place. It then focuses on the town of Geiranger, nestled at the end of a fjord, that will have ten minutes to evacuate if a cliff-face down the fjord lets go and crashes into the water. In this, the film is factually correct, and the director was guided by the actual geology of an event that will happen. The only question is when.

Geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) has been working at a station that monitors the mountainsides, but he’s now taken a job with an oil exploration company and his family is preparing to move. When he returns from a preparatory trip to their new apartment in Oslo, he finds his wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp) fixing the sink while their teenaged son Sondre (Jonas Hoff Oftebro) and younger daughter Julia (Edith Haagenrud-Sande) watching. Over dinner Kristian explains the technologically advanced apartment they’ll have when they move, though Idun says she will miss the soul of their older house.

The next day, Kristian goes in for a final time to the Early Warning Center, located over 100 meters above sea level. There’s a particularly unstable section that they are monitoring remotely with both sensors and video. While he’s there a warning goes off about a drop in ground water levels, but when they check the video and the other monitors everything seems fine. The next day Kristian is leaving town with Sondre and Julia, while Idun has a last day at the hotel she manages in Geiranger and will follow later. He suddenly makes a connection with what caused the change in levels and why the monitors didn’t register a problem, so he turns around and heads to the Early Warning Center.

Oftentimes Hollywood disaster films begin with a bang to get the adrenalin pumping and to foreshadow the larger thrills to come. For example, with the two movies cited above, San Andreas begins with a white-knuckle helicopter rescue while Into The Storm has a nearly invisible night-time tornado take out a car with four students in it. The Wave does a slower build, focusing on the family and people they know, so we become close to these characters. They’re completely real, not the larger than life heroic types that often populate this genre. The term “disaster flick” inherently gives away some of the plot – bad things will happen – but the films usually split into two sub-categories: 1) the focus is on the disaster, or 2) the movie is a drama that happens to include a disaster. The Wave is firmly in the second sub-category.

Director Roar Uthaug has worked only in his native Norway, though that will be changing. He’s been tapped to helm the new Tomb Raider film due in 2018 that will star Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. The Wave only had a limited release in the US, common for a non-English film, but in Norway it sold over 800,000 tickets. Considering Norway has a population of around 5 million, that’s the equivalent of 1 in 6 people in the country seeing the film. That’s akin to a US movie having a domestic box office of approximately $500 million – about the domestic gross of The Dark Knight, which is 6th on the all-time domestic box office list.

Where many disaster movies feel over-bloated and usually have a running time in excess of two hours, The Wave is a lean 105 minutes. In the midst of the destruction – and the effects are stunning – it doesn’t lose sight of the human level. If you like this genre and have Netflix (or find it on another streaming service) I highly recommend you check out this film. It is well worth the viewing.

Dark Days

Johnny Depp has been having his problems finding a hit recently. His last unabashed success was 2010’s Alice In Wonderland, but since then there’s been The Tourist, The Rum Diary, Dark Shadows, Transcendence, Mortdecai, the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean installment, and the major stink bomb The Lone Ranger. Even the recent Alice sequel landed with a thud after the original made over a billion at the box office. Sadly, the general malaise over Depp’s movies meant that people stayed away from his best performance since Finding Neverland (a personal favorite of mine). In this role he was the antithesis of the over-the-top strange characters he’s often played, and instead communicates the still menace of a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike. The movie is Black Mass, and the role is James “Whitey” Bulger.

Bulger was an Irish mobster from the south side of Boston who ruled the town from the 1970s into the 1990s. He got the nickname Whitey from his white-blond hair, though he hated it and preferred people call him Jim or Jimmy. Born in 1929 two months before the Stock Market Crash, Bulger was a handful for his parents, and his wild behavior included actually running away to join the circus when he was ten. In contrast, Bulger’s brother Billy excelled in school and grew up to become a politician, serving in both the state assembly and senate, and was later the President of the University of Massachusetts.

As a teenager Bulger joined a gang during WWII, leading to a reform school sentence when he was 14. After he got out, he joined the Air Force as a mechanic. Although his service record included several trips to the stockade for fighting, he managed to get an honorable discharge in 1952 after four years of service. He returned to Boston and his gang ties, and was incarcerated in federal prison for bank robbery. He served time in Alcatraz, Leavenworth, and other facilities. During that time he volunteered to be a human guinea pig for a medical trial run by the CIA that investigated the use of LSD.

By the 1970s when Black Mass begins, Bulger was firmly established in an Irish gang, but then events took an unexpected turn. A boy from the neighborhood, John Connolly, had become an FBI agent and was assigned to Boston. He recruited Bulger to help him smash the Patriarca crime family, the head of the Mafia in Boston. In exchange, the FBI protected him from investigations. This allowed Bulger to consolidate his power while using the FBI to eliminate his competition.

This may sound familiar if you saw Martin Scorsese’s movie The Departed. While the movie was an adaptation of a Hong Kong police thriller, Scorsese incorporated aspects of Boston crime history since the movie was set there. Jack Nicholson’s crime boss was (very) loosely based on Bulger.

But where Nicholson comes across as a dissipated slime ball, Depp’s performance is electric, and he communicates raw menace in the most casual of conversations. When they were filming Black Mass in Boston, on the same streets Bulger once ruled, locals saw Depp embodying the role and actually thought Bulger had returned. The menace also fits better with a man who was tied to 18 murders.

The movie was directed by Scott Cooper, who was an actor before he moved behind the camera as the writer and director of Crazy Heart, which earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar. He assembled a first-tier supporting cast that includes Joel Edgerton as Agent Connolly, Benedict Cumberbatch as Billy Bulger, and Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson and Julianne Nicholson in other roles.

While it doesn’t have the overall power of Scorsese’s movies based on true stories like Goodfellas and Casino, it’s a strong, well-told story of good intensions leading to corruption and destruction. I’d planned to see it in the theater last fall but it came and quickly left before I could make it there. It didn’t deserve that fate. The film’s recently come to HBO and it’s definitely worth a viewing.

Life’s a Beach

Another movie I missed the first time around but streamed recently was Love & Mercy, the biopic of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Wilson was a musical genius as well as a very troubled man who was almost destroyed by misdiagnosed mental illness. The movie details his descent and eventual recovery in an unusual but effective way, by having two actors portray Wilson.

The first period roughly covers 1964 through 1966 when the Beach Boys rivaled the Beatles in popularity. The Beach Boys had actually come on the scene a couple of years before the Beatles with the California sound that they created and refined. They were close to a family act, made up of Brian’s brothers Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and high school friend Al Jardine. The Wilsons’ father Murry was their manager early on. However in ‘64 panic attacks and other problems led Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) to stop traveling with the group. While the others toured, Brian concentrated on writing, including creating the groups seminal album “Pet Sounds” as well as their biggest hit “Good Vibrations.”

In the mid-1980s, Brian (John Cusack) is under constant supervision by psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti). When shopping for a car, Brian meets saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks). He’s attracted to her, and she to him. However, as she draws close to him she learns how completely Landy controls Brian’s life. He’s diagnosed Brian as a paranoid schizophrenic and keeps him in a fog with prescription drugs. Melinda sees Landy as a threat to Brian’s life and is determined to save him, even if it means they’ll be separated.

The movie flips back and forth between the two periods. Director Bill Pohlad and screenwriter Owen Moverman (who reworked an earlier script by Michael A. Lerner) had also considered adding a middle act to cover the three years in the 1970s that Brian stayed in bed and ballooned to 300 lbs. They would have cast Philip Seymour Hoffman for that section, but they ended up covering the period briefly with Dano and Cusack.

Pohlad’s reputation is as a producer, having worked on Brokeback Mountain, Into the Wild, Fair Game, 12 Years a Slave, and Wild, among other films. He’d only directed one other film 25 years earlier, his initial production credit Old Explorers. However, he does an excellent job in the director’s chair integrating the two facets of the story. He and Moverman have also done an incredible job with the accuracy of the story, even shooting scenes of the creation of Pet Sounds in the actual recording studio used for the album. (The scenes of Dano working with the musicians were improvised, though Dano listened to the tapes of the sessions and incorporated some lines that Brian Wilson actually said, including “You think we could get a horse in here?”)

Dano can be a very idiosyncratic actor, but as Brian he tones down those flourishes. It makes you feel the fragility of the character and understand when his world breaks apart. Although they didn’t collaborate at all on their performances, Cusack blends well with Dano, and having the two actors enhances the storytelling. As Landy, Giamatti is intense and scary. When he watched the film after it was completed, Wilson suffered a temporary disassociation and thought Giamatti actually was Lundy, which speaks to the veracity of his performance. The role of Melinda could have been one-dimensional, but Banks infuses it with a quiet strength and warmth.

The sound department for the film deserves special kudos, for sound becomes part of the plot. the dissonance within Brian’s brain is expressed in the film through heightened noise. A family dinner becomes excruciating for Brian as all the incidental background sounds are amplified. It’s like the music in his mind has turned on him and become a monster. It’s very effective.

During the credits, there’s footage of a recent performance by Brian Wilson of the song “Love & Mercy” that he wrote in the 80s, during the Landy years. (Landy had claimed co-writer status for all the work Wilson did at that time, though that was later corrected.) After watching the film, the song is a tender and poignant coda. So often the story of a musical genius ends as a tragedy. Love & Mercy shows how close Wilson came to that, but in the end it’s the story of resilience and survival.

Listing to the Right

(I’ve been catching up on some movies I missed when they were in the theaters. God bless streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix.)

I remember when I was young and first learned about the blacklistings of the 1940s and 1950s. Most think it was a byproduct of McCarthyism but that’s incorrect. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was in full swing well before Joe McCarthy came on the scene. He exploited it, but he did not create it. It seemed to me to be un-American by its very nature, to deny people gainful employment. But this was also the time of segregation, embedded anti-Semitism, and sickening paternalism, so in that light the blacklisting of people because of some imperfectly conceived threat is more understandable, though still not justifiable. And these are the days some hold up as “the good old days.” Sigh.

The blacklist affected thousands of people. Even decorated war veterans like Leo Penn, Sean Penn’s father, could have their patriotism questioned and be blacklisted simply by being sympathetic to unions. Most of those who suffered were regular people with regular jobs, but there were some well-known people who had the world crash down around them. The most famous on the list was Dalton Trumbo.

Trumbo was a talented screenwriter and script doctor in Hollywood. He’d also published novels, the most famous of which was “Johnny Got His Gun,” an anti-war novel set during WWI. (The book was reissued in the late 1960s and became a 1971 movie starring Timothy Bottoms, Donald Sutherland, and Jason Robards; Trumbo did the screenplay and directed the film). During WWII, when the Soviet Union was allied with the US and Great Britain, Trumbo became a member of the Communist Party of the United States of America.

Jay Roach’s 2015 film Trumbo picks up his story just after the war. At the time Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is working on a film with Edward G. Robinson (Michael Stuhlbarg) and living on a farm outside Los Angeles with his wife Cleo (Diane Lane) and his three children. During a recent strike against the studio, Trumbo had supported the workers. That painted a proverbial target on his back, and Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) was more than happy to shoot arrows at it.

Trumbo does an excellent job with telling the story both of how the blacklisting began as well as Trumbo’s fight to keep working in spite of it. In recreating the Hollywood of that time, several major actors and others involved in the film industry are portrayed. In some cases the actors don’t resemble the person, such as Stuhlbarg and David James Elliott as John Wayne, so they go more for the essence of the person rather than an impersonation. However, a couple of the actors are dead ringers for their characters and nail them, especially Australian actor Dean O’Gorman as Kirk Douglas and German actor Christian Berkel as Otto Preminger.

Lane is spectacular as Cleo Trumbo, balancing her love of her husband with her exasperation with him. Later in the film Elle Fanning portrays Trumbo’s oldest daughter Nikki during her teenaged years. One of the best scenes in the film is when Trumbo realizes his daughter is exactly like him. Also deserving of plaudits are Louis C.K., who plays Trumbo’s best friend and fellow blacklist victim, and John Goodman as schlock producer Frank King.

The movie, though, belongs to Cranston whose Oscar-nominated performance is spot on. There’s archival footage of an interview with Trumbo that’s included during the credits, and it sounds just like Cranston’s performance. Trumbo is a character with sharp edges and plenty of problems, and Cranston communicates them with crystal clarity.

Director Jay Roach cut his teeth on comedies with the Austin Powers series and the first two Meet the Parents movies. In 2008 he shifted gears to more political fare with the HBO movie Recount, followed by Game Change with Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin and the theater-released The Campaign with Will Ferrill and Zach Galifianakis. While Trumbo has plenty of humor in it, there is more gravitas in the story as well.

The production design by Mark Ricker and the art direction by Lisa Marinaccio and Jesse Rosenthal beautifully captures the historical settings. They’re assisted by Jim Denault’s cinematography that matches the rich Technicolor look of films of that time. Roach also seamlessly blends in actual footage of the HUAC hearings with testimony from the likes of Robert Taylor and Ronald Reagan.

This was a time when the ship of state went dangerously out of balance and threatened to capsize. It provides a powerful lesson on how we need to hold onto the aspects of this country that have made it great, such as the rule of law, fairness, and the constitutional rights granted us to freedom of speech and due process. When we abrogate those because of short-term fears, it lessens the country.