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Ted Allan: Minstrel Boy of the Twentieth Century

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Ted Allan's life is a story of deep commitment, bitter betrayal and humour. Wounded in the Spanish Civil War, blacklisted by Hollywood and censored by the CBC, he nonetheless enjoyed a remarkable career as a playwright, actor, screenwriter and novelist.

From his youth, the idealistic Allan was drawn towards the left and the Communist Party. He followed his hero Dr. Norman Bethune to Spain, joining the International Brigade fighting Franco. While Khrushchev's revelations of Stalin-era atrocities shattered his faith in Russian communism, it inspired one of his greatest plays. Allan remained committed to egalitarian ideals until his death.

His writing often dealt with more intimate matters--family dramas drawing on his own past. His screenplay for the Oscar-nominated film Lies My Father Told Me was inspired by his beloved grandfather, and the memory of Sadie, his mentally unstable sister, came alive in his script for Love Streams, directed by filmmaker John Cassavetes. Finally, in his biography of Bethune, Allan confronted his own betrayal of the man he loved like a father.

Ted Allan: Minstrel Boy of the Twentieth Century is a vibrant portrait of a remarkable man living in turbulent times.

2002, 46 min 54 s

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