Ted Allan: Minstrel Boy of the Twentieth Century

200246 min 54 secFilm: Documentary

Direction: Merrily WeisbordTanya TreeAngie Kaye

Production: Arnie Gelbart (Galafilm Inc.)Elizabeth KlinckAdam Symansky (National Film Board of Canada)Sally Bochner

Script: Merrily Weisbord

Produced by Galafilm in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada, in association with History Television, CFCF-12 Montreal, and Bravo! Canada, with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund, the Quebec Film and Television Tax Credit, with the assistance of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

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.

Subject categories

  • Literature and Language - Canada > Canadian LiteratureEnglish-language WritersPortraits
  • Film and Video Arts > Film and Video MakingPortraits
  • Literature and Language > Portraits
  • Theater > Portraits


Merrily Weisbord
Tanya Tree
Merrily Weisbord
Christopher Plummer
Arnie Gelbart
Adam Symansky
Elizabeth Klinck
executive producer
Sally Bochner
development producer
Camelia Frieberg
Sandra Cunningham
additional direction
Camelia Frieberg
production manager
Sylvia Wilson
Susan Shanks
director of photography
Stefan Nitoslawski
John Walker
Donna Dobbs
Alex Hanson
sound recordist
Craig Lapp
Catherine Van Der Donckt
original music
Judith Gruber-Stitzer
graphic artist
Sophia Southam
graphics assistance
Stephen Legari
Cassidy Weisbord
Alasdair Gillis
additional research
Karen Gamble
Elizabeth Klinck
Colette Lebeuf
Cleo Paskal
production coordinator
Reagan Hicock
assistant production coordinator
Rory Kenny
Angie Kaye
assistant director
Rebecca Taichman
additional editing
Lewis Cohen
Annie Ilkow
Sophia Southam
Oana Suteu
post-production supervisor
Jennifer Wilson
post-production coordinator
Christina Thompson
online editor
Julie Monette
assistant editor
Gordon Hashimoto
Prem Sooriyakumar
sound editor
Judith Gruber-Stitzer
Anton Fischlin
dialogue editor
Louis-Philippe Perron
audio mixer
Jacques Comtois
business affairs
Maude-Isabelle Delagrave
legal affairs
Maude-Isabelle Delagrave
Caroline Brault
studio administrator
Marie Tonto-Donati