When they roll the credits at the end, they show the actors in the movie that were actually blacklisted at some point. It included Zero Mostel who played an actor who eventually kills himself since he can no longer act. He was supposedly based on an actual actor who did that. The movie has a terrific ending when Woody's character is brought before the Senate Committee for Un-American Affairs. They want him to name names. They even want him to name his dead friend as a Commie. He tells them to fuck themselves (in those words). He is then seen being taken to prison for contempt.
I would like to think that the folks at TCM aired that movie as a wake-up call to all of us. The paranoia that gripped the country in the 50's is alive and well today. We're not labeled as "Commies." We're now labeled as "Terrorists." If you're not with the current administration, you're un-American. There was an article that made it to a few LJ's yesterday about Alabama trying to ban all books by gay authors or have gay subject matter. *sniff sniff* I smell the 50's!
One of the reasons I try to be as open as I can is that no one can use secrets against you. That's why it was such a big deal if you were in the closet while working for national security. The enemy could get secrets from you by threatening to "out" you. Any little weird kink that was found out was a weapon to be used against you. It's very empowering to be able to tell someone to fuck off if they try to blackmail you.