Cold War, witch-hunt, propaganda... in 1950s America, paranoia was setting in. Taking its title from the film of Norman Jewison, the first to have ridiculed this fear in 1966, “The Witch-Hunt is On” (French title “Les russes arrivent”) portrays the complex relationships between the Soviets and the Americans and the corresponding impact on Hollywood cinema up until the mid 1970s.
"Are you or have you ever been a communist?": this is the question that millions of Americans were forced to answer during years of anti-communist paranoia. From the "anti-red" campaigns-- found even in children's chewing-gum machines-- to Hollywood films, anti-communist propaganda would be one of the driving forces behind US politics and deft politicians such as Senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1947, when the Cold War was officially declared and the country shuddered at the threat of the atomic bomb, McCarthy quickly realised that it was much easier to make headlines by accusing Hollywood stars, as opposed to perfect strangers, of being communists. This marked the beginning of a witch-hunt that would captivate America and Hollywood for over fifty years. It would shape studio productions, divide the Hollywood scene and force a number of stars (or non-stars) into exile. Then, in the mid 1960s, the very same film industry, a instrument of first pro then anti "red" propaganda, would offer a more satirical view of the period, and in the 1970s going as far as to denounce the US state machine’s staging of the affair. A step-by-step portrayal of the turn of events is offered in this passionate and meticulously researched account, supported by film excerpts, archival records, expert contributions and placards from the era.