Career is a 1959 blacklist film drama co-written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Dean Martin, Tony Franciosa, and Shirley MacLaine.
The movie involves actor Sam Lawson (Franciosa), bent on breaking into the big time at any cost, braving World War II, the Korean War and even the blacklist, something that writer Trumbo knew all too well from being blacklisted himself.
Career was written by Bert Granet, James Lee (whose play served as the foundation for the film), Philip Strong and Trumbo, and directed by Joseph Anthony. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and won one Golden Globe Award.
Actor-director Maurice "Maury" Novak (Dean Martin) works with actor Sam Lawson (Tony Franciosa) in an early grassroots theatrical group later targeted as "subversive" for its liberal views. Novak leaves the theater to become a well known Hollywood director until he is brought down by the blacklist himself.
Both men know Sharon Kensington (Shirley MacLaine), who is the alcoholic daughter of powerful Broadway producer Robert Kensington (Robert Middleton).
Lawson continually tries to establish himself as an actor, suffering the slings and arrows of rejection despite his dedication and passion for the theater. It costs him his first wife, played by Joan Blackman. Lawson's long-suffering agent Shirley Drake (Carolyn Jones) attempts to get him work and he slowly begins to rise, even managing to land work in a Kensington production. Just as he's about to land a major role in a TV series, his loyalty is researched and the ties to his allegedly "subversive" theater work with Novak are revealed.
As Novak has been wrongly brought down, the now blacklisted Lawson, reflecting the realities of real-life blacklisted actors, is forced to take work as a waiter. In one sense this was among Hollywood's first direct documentations of the blacklist in a dramatic film.
Novak, himself on the skids, returns, vowing to start fresh with a new off-Broadway theater. He offers Lawson a chance to work together again. After agonizing, Lawson accepts the offer, and with the blacklist past, the new play becomes successful and heads to Broadway. With Lawson finally emerging as a major actor, Drake, who has fallen in love with Lawson, asks him in the final scene, thinking of his struggles and humiliation, if it was "worth it."
"Yes," says Lawson. "It was worth it."Dean Martin as Maury Novak
Tony Franciosa as Sam Lawson
Shirley MacLaine as Sharon Kensington
Carolyn Jones as Shirley Drake
Joan Blackman as Barbara Lawson Helmsley
Robert Middleton as Robert Kensington
Donna Douglas as Marjorie Burke
Jerry Paris as Allan Burke
Frank McHugh as Charlie
Chuck Wassil as Eric Peters
Mary Treen as Marie, secretary to Shirley Drake
Alan Hewitt as Matt Helmsley
Marjorie Bennett as Columnist
The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (Franciosa)
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards:Best Art Direction (Hal Pereira, Walter H. Tyler, Samuel M. Comer, Arthur Krams).
Best Cinematography (Joseph LaShelle)
Best Costume Design (Edith Head)