Guilty by Suspicion

First writing-directing effort by vet producer Irwin Winkler squarely lays out the professional, ethical and moral dilemmas engendered by the insidious political pressures brought to bear on filmmakers in the early 1950s. Robert De Niro is excellent as a top director brought down by reactionary paranoia. But the drama comes to life only fitfully.

With:
Robert De Niro Annette Bening George Wendt Patricia Wettig Sam Wanamaker Martin Scorsese

First writing-directing effort by vet producer Irwin Winkler squarely lays out the professional, ethical and moral dilemmas engendered by the insidious political pressures brought to bear on filmmakers in the early 1950s. Robert De Niro is excellent as a top director brought down by reactionary paranoia. But the drama comes to life only fitfully.

De Niro portrays David Merrill, a director on a roll who lives only for his work. Arriving back in Hollywood in 1951 after a European sojourn, he soon finds the atmosphere changed. Charged by a colleague as having attended a couple of left-wing meetings years before, Merrill is asked by 20th Century-Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck (Ben Piazza) to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee before proceeding with his next big production.

After a disagreeable meeting with an attorney (Sam Wanamaker) and a HUAC rep, Merrill, refusing to cooperate, finds that the chill sets in almost immediately. He is yanked from the Fox film, listens to his agent demand back a $50,000 advance, looks to lose his house and hears his 10-year-old son doubting him. Worst of all, no one will return his calls.

Looking raffish and trim, De Niro perfectly conveys a charming, quiet confidence at the outset. During the extraordinary appearance before HUAC, he finally blossoms into a man of conviction and passion. The actor pulls off this last-minute transformation beautifully.

Guilty by Suspicion

Production: Warner. Director Irwin Winkler; Producer Arnon Milchan; Screenplay Irwin Winkler; Camera Michael Ballhaus; Editor Priscilla Nedd; Music James Newton Howard; Art Director Leslie Dilley

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1991. Running time: 105 MIN.

With: Robert De Niro Annette Bening George Wendt Patricia Wettig Sam Wanamaker Martin Scorsese

More Film

  • (L to R) Young Tanya (JESSICA

    Box Office: 'Mamma Mia' Shoots Past 'Equalizer 2' in Thursday Night Shows

    First writing-directing effort by vet producer Irwin Winkler squarely lays out the professional, ethical and moral dilemmas engendered by the insidious political pressures brought to bear on filmmakers in the early 1950s. Robert De Niro is excellent as a top director brought down by reactionary paranoia. But the drama comes to life only fitfully. De […]

  • Disney Cycles VR Short Film

    Disney Animation's First VR Film, 'Cycles,' Set to Premiere

    First writing-directing effort by vet producer Irwin Winkler squarely lays out the professional, ethical and moral dilemmas engendered by the insidious political pressures brought to bear on filmmakers in the early 1950s. Robert De Niro is excellent as a top director brought down by reactionary paranoia. But the drama comes to life only fitfully. De […]

  • Apollo 11

    Neon Buys 'Apollo 11' Moon Landing Documentary

    First writing-directing effort by vet producer Irwin Winkler squarely lays out the professional, ethical and moral dilemmas engendered by the insidious political pressures brought to bear on filmmakers in the early 1950s. Robert De Niro is excellent as a top director brought down by reactionary paranoia. But the drama comes to life only fitfully. De […]

  • Locarno: Intramovies Takes Sales on Inquisition

    Locarno: Intramovies Takes World Sales on Inquisition Drama 'Menocchio' (EXCLUSIVE)

    First writing-directing effort by vet producer Irwin Winkler squarely lays out the professional, ethical and moral dilemmas engendered by the insidious political pressures brought to bear on filmmakers in the early 1950s. Robert De Niro is excellent as a top director brought down by reactionary paranoia. But the drama comes to life only fitfully. De […]

  • Cats review

    Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellen Cast in Movie Version of 'Cats'

    First writing-directing effort by vet producer Irwin Winkler squarely lays out the professional, ethical and moral dilemmas engendered by the insidious political pressures brought to bear on filmmakers in the early 1950s. Robert De Niro is excellent as a top director brought down by reactionary paranoia. But the drama comes to life only fitfully. De […]

  • In this undated photo released by

    Six Thai Cave Rescue Films Now in Development

    First writing-directing effort by vet producer Irwin Winkler squarely lays out the professional, ethical and moral dilemmas engendered by the insidious political pressures brought to bear on filmmakers in the early 1950s. Robert De Niro is excellent as a top director brought down by reactionary paranoia. But the drama comes to life only fitfully. De […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content