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Tail Gunner Joe (1977)

TV Movie  -   -  Biography | Drama  -  6 February 1977 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 120 users  
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A dramatization of the life of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the alcoholic senator from Wisconsin whose tactics of accusing prominent people of Communist sympathies were initially designed to give ... See full summary »

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Title: Tail Gunner Joe (TV Movie 1977)

Tail Gunner Joe (TV Movie 1977) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul Cunningham
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Logan (as Heather Menzies)
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Joseph Welch
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Sen. Margaret Chase Smith
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Mrs. DeCamp
Philip Abbott ...
Sen. Scott Lucas
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Middleton
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Sylvester
Karen Carlson ...
Jean Kerr
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Wisconsin farmer
Charles Cioffi ...
Logan's Boss
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Sarah
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...
Armitage
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Storyline

A dramatization of the life of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the alcoholic senator from Wisconsin whose tactics of accusing prominent people of Communist sympathies were initially designed to give him a national power base when he later planned to run for President. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Release Date:

6 February 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tail Gunner Joe  »

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Burgess Meredith, who plays the attorney Joseph Welch who finally stood up to Senator McCarthy, was himself named an unfriendly witness by the House Un-American Activities Committee, which nearly ruined his acting career. See more »

Quotes

JOSEPH WELCH: Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream that you could be so reckless, and so cruel, as to do an injury to that lad. Have you no sense of decency, sir; at long last, have you left no sense of decency?
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User Reviews

 
Good actors in a movie perpetuating political mythology
16 August 2009 | by (cramlington u.k.) – See all my reviews

A hard to find film which coasts on the still pervasive mythology of Senator Joe McCarthy as a political demon king. Boyle (as Joe) gives a compelling but historically inaccurate portrayal of the Wisconsin Senator, the caricature McCarthy many take as the real one. Meredith, as wily Army lawyer Joseph Welch, who outsmarted McCarthy at the Army hearings in 1954, is very good, as always.

In fact, McCarthy and Cohn were quite right in worrying about the appalling security situation in the Army, and the 1954 Army hearings became enmeshed in the smokescreen used by the Army to deflect the investigation away from their security failings, which the committee were investigating, by counter-charging that McCarthy and Cohn were trying to get favours for their staffer, David Schine, whilst in the service.

The film is self satisfied agenda driven polemic, based in the pervasive myths which have passed for the truth with many people for decades-that the "red scare" was essentially phony and McCarthy, HUAC etc were always blasting away at the wrong targets, being no more than lying, career ruining publicity hounds, who were trampling over the constitutional rights of startled innocent liberals, who were accused of being security risks/communists.

People who know little about the matter still feel confident in repeating misinformation on McCarthy and the "red scare" to this day-Clooney's Murrow hagiography is an example. The misinformation is pervasive, no wonder people have swallowed it. A recent obit of Budd Schulberg in the serious left wing UK newspaper "The Guardian" headlined that the Hollywood writer "named names" "to McCarthy"- perpetuating the lie that McCarthy "investigated" Hollywood as head of HUAC-the truth being that McCarthy was never even a member of HUAC and he had little interest in the politics of Hollywood types-his investigations were confined almost exclusively to arms of the US government.

The mythology about the "red scare" being baseless is now completely exploded by recently opened Soviet and US government documents, if anything McCarthy and co underestimated the sheer scale of Soviet and fellow traveller infiltration in the US, but decades of public misinformation about this period will be hard to correct.

One day maybe some really brave Hollywood soul will make a movie telling the truth about how many American men and women clandestinely aided the mass murderer Stalin, and worked to impose his vicious system of government on the western world, giving an accurate account maybe of Joe McCarthy's career-but I won't hold my breath. Till then, we have this mythical, drunken lying scoundrel of popular imagination so familiar in the media...."Tail gunner Joe".


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