In the early 1950's, the threat of Communism created an air of paranoia in the United States and exploiting those fears was Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. However, CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred W. Friendly decided to take a stand and challenge McCarthy and expose him for the fear monger he was. However, their actions took a great personal toll on both men, but they stood by their convictions and helped to bring down one of the most controversial senators in American history. Written by
Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>
During the DVD commentary for this film, George Clooney says that about 20% of the test audiences had never heard of Joseph McCarthy before and wanted to know the identity of the "actor" playing him. McCarthy, of course, was played by actual footage of the real McCarthy: Joseph Raymond McCarthy (1908-1957), who was the Republican Junior Senator from Wisconsin from 1947 to 1957, when he died in office. See more »
It was originally thought by many viewers that the "CBS News" sign on the wall is set in Helvetica, a typeface which was first created in 1957, three years after the Joseph McCarthy broadcast. Subsequent investigation by typographers established that the typeface is actually correct and is Akzidenz Grotesk. See more »
In 1935, Ed Murrow began his career with CBS. When World War II broke out, it was his voice that brought the Battle of Britain home to us, through his "This Is London" radio series. He started with us all, many of us here tonight, when television was in its infancy, with the news documentary show, "See It Now." He threw stones at giants. Segregation, exploitation of migrant workers, apartheid, J. Edgar Hoover, not the least of which, his historical fight with Senator McCarthy. He ...
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Even the rating band at the tail of the film is in black and white. See more »
The film does not - as some have suggested - unfairly portray McCarthy as a sub-human monster. Its presentation of McCarthy is limited strictly to the thread of the storyline and never does it waver toward name-calling or character assassination. This is particularly striking given that MCarthy was a well-seasoned alcoholic and clearly suffered from a narcissistic personality disorder. He was ripe for parody because his eccentricities were so pronounced, but this film is remarkably even-handed about the Senator's deeds and behavior. There are no allusions either to his peculiar friendship with Roy Cohn, whose notorious homosexual relations with private G. David Schine eventually led to McCarthy's demented charge that the Army was infested with Communists. Some have even suggested that McCarthy was no stranger to gay trysts. All of this could have made for an explosive - and typical
"Hollywood" movie and would indeed have been propagandistic, shallow
and simple-minded. Instead Clooney has made an intelligent, cogent, fair-minded film about ethics, high standards and integrity.
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