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Skirball Cultural Center

Behind the Blacklist: Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) and Force of Evil (1948)

Double-Feature Screening and Conversation with Alan Rode and Hank Polonsky

Public Programs | Film

Stills from the films featured. On the left is Harry Belafonte standing in front of a microphone speaking emphatically. On the right is Jon Garfield shown holding a phone and staring into space with a serious expression.

Courtesy of Photofest

Check out two classic films by Blacklisted Jewish screenwriter, director, and committed Marxist, Abraham Polonsky. In between films, hear film historian Alan Rode speak with Hank Polonsky about Abraham Polonsky's experience with the Hollywood Red Scare and its impact on their family.

Date and Time

Sunday, July 9, 11:00 am

Pricing and Details


  • $20 General
  • $10 Members and Full-Time Students
  • FREE to WGA members with code 99954*

Includes Museum admission
Reservations recommended
*Please present your WGA card at check in.

Plan Your Visit

There will be time to eat between films. Food is available for purchase from Judy’s Counter or Zeidler’s Café.*

You may visit the Museum anytime, 10:00 am–5:00 pm.

*Reservations recommended for Zeidler's Café: (310) 440-4515

About the Program

Check out two classic films by Blacklisted screenwriter and director Abraham Polonsky! Born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants, Polonsky was a committed Marxist, union supporter, and proud member of the Communist Party. Like many Blacklisted screenwriters, Polonsky continued to write under pseudonyms and fronts. While it is now known Polonsky wrote Odds Against Tomorrow, many of his scripts remain uncredited to this day.

In between films, hear film historian Alan Rode speak with Hank Polonsky about Abraham Polonsky's experience with the Hollywood Red Scare and its impact on their family.


  • 11:00 am—Odds Against Tomorrow
    This multi-layered film stars Hollywood legends Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, and Ed Begley as three desperate men who band together for a dangerous heist. Beyond its gripping plot, Odds Against Tomorrow issues a strong statement about the endemic racism at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Directed by Robert Wise. (1959, 96 min. No MPAA rating.)
  • 12:45 pm—Conversation and Q&A with Hank Polonsky
    Moderated by film historian, author, and cinema host Alan Rode.
  • 2:00 pm—Force of Evil
    Force of Evil stars John Garfield as a lawyer embroiled in a scheme to control "the numbers racket" in New York City, leading to a series of events that test his morality and loyalty. Polonsky’s directorial debut is a poetic urban saga underscoring how unbridled capitalistic greed creates personal debasement and tragedy. (1948, 78 min. No MPAA rating.)

Look out for related material in the exhibition! Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare highlights the proliferation of fronts, the Blacklist clearance process, and a spotlight on the Polonsky-written classic, Body and Soul (screening at the Skirball on August 20).

Preview the Films

Watch the Odds Against Tomorrow trailer

Watch the Force of Evil trailer

Donor Support

Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare and its related educational programs at the Skirball Cultural Center are made possible by generous support from the following donors:

The Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation
Stephanie and Harold Bronson
Lori and Scott Cooper/Pegasus Squire
Billie B. and Steven G. Fischer Foundation
The Keston Family
In Memory of George Litto by Andria Litto
TZ Projects & Friends
Peter and Julie Weil

Media sponsor: 

Mother holding young daughter dancing and smiling outside during a festival

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