Good Night And Good Luck: A Film By George Clooney. Rated A.

October 26, 2005 by
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David Strathairn As Edward R. Murrow


Good Night And Good Luck: A Film By George Clooney. Rated A.
This movie is a snap shot of the Edward R. Murrow- Joseph McCarthy confrontation in 1953. Remember 1953 was the year the Soviets detonated their first H Bomb. The McCarthy hearings, which were televised, were destroying prominent and average people by innuendo and out right lies. There was a national panic fueled by Joseph McCarthy and his Counsel Roy Cohen that Communists or their sympathizers had infiltrated all aspects of American life including the Army, The State Department and The Media.

Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and Fred Friendly (George Clooney) of CBS were the first to challenge McCarthy and point out he was as a demagog with his false assertions and abuse of power.

This led President Eisenhower to speak out against McCarthy which resulted in his censorship by Congress and eventual down fall. The film is in black and white to convey the idea that this is history and a serious statement concerning the importance of television news in 1953 and how far it has fallen since. The cinematography by Robert Elswit is excellent.

Cooney who is the director as well as a co-writer with Grant Heslov uses film clips of McCarthy at the time instead of an actor to portray the Congressman to masterful effect. McCarthy reveals himself with his own visage and words. David Strathairn portrays Morrow almost as well as Murrow would himself. His saying of Murrow’s famous lines, “fear is in the room” or “we will not walk in fear of one another”or “Cassius was right, the fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, but ourselves” brings us back to those heady days when CBS would take on an arch villain with enormous media power head to head.

Murrow warns his fellow journalists at a subsequent awards ceremony that television can be used for good or bad and he foresees that the commercialization of news will lead to the info-entertainment we see today. Thus the evening news is about fires and hurricanes but not about the true issues that concern us as a society. This film was beautifully done with a valid statement to make. Unfortunately the film is a cry in the wilderness. All the major television networks are owned by four giant entertainment conglomerates whose concept of news is to show or “report” that which has a synergistic effect on the profits of its other products like films or music.

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