Blacklisted Film, “Salt of the Earth,” Will Have Remake
by Brian Brooks
Award-winning director David Riker (“La Ciudad”) will helm a remake of the 1953 film “Salt of the Earth.” The project, announced at a recent conference hosted by the College of Santa Fe, tells the true story of a miners strike in New Mexico by predominately Mexican-American workers who overcame tremendous pressure by the Anglo dominated management.
The film’s original release was marred by the McCarthy era because the original filmmakers were blacklisted. The blacklist interfered with production on various levels including the deportation of the film’s lead actress. After the film was released, most American theaters refused to screen it. Academy Award-winning blacklisted screenwriter Michael Wilson (“A Place in the Sun”) wrote the original screenplay. The original director, Herbert Biberman, was one of the blacklisted “Hollywood Ten,” who refused cooperation with the congressional committee investigating “un-American activities” in the entertainment industry.
“Fifty years later, the themes of ‘Salt of the Earth’ are as relevant as ever,” commented Riker in a prepared statement. “Many of the women who joined the picket lines and starred in the original are still alive, now in their eighties. Their children and grandchildren still work in the mines.”
Doug Mankoff of Echo Lake Productions (“Things Behind the Sun”), Moctesuma Esparza and Robert Katz of Esparza/Katz Productions (“Selena”) as well as Paul S. Mezey (“La Ciudad”) will produce the project. Becca Wilson, daughter of Michael Wilson, will co-produce. Like the original, the film will be shot on location in Grant County, New Mexico.