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>
Most of the text of Edward R. Murrow's speech bookending the movie is taken word-for-word from the actual keynote address he delivered to the 1958 RTNDA convention. The actual conclusion to the speech, after Murrow's line about television, used strictly for entertainment rather than education, being nothing more than wires and lights in a box, went as follows: "There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance, and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful. Stonewall Jackson, who knew something about the use of weapons, is reported to have said, 'When war comes, you must draw the sword and throw away the scabbard.' The trouble with television, is that it is rusting in the scabbard during a battle for survival." See more »
Murrow is shown giving his famous speech at the RNTDA Convention. The screen to his left shows the date as 25 October 1958 whereas the actual date of the speech was 15 October 1958. 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 »
"Good Night, and Good Luck" is the kind of film that has elicited strong opinions in the IMDb forum. In fact, most of the critics point out at the manipulation of the actual events and what they perceive as character assassination of the late Joseph McCarthy and the role he played during the "witch hunt" conducted by the late senator from Wisconsin. Whether these points are right, or wrong, in the minds of the contributors, most seem to disregard the film on that criteria, alone.
In fact, "Good Night, and Good Luck" shows a time in the American past that served as the model in the way television introduced the format in which the news was going to be shown to the country using the emerging technology to keep people informed. As such, CBS under William Paley's leadership, amassed a lot of talent and it became the yardstick in which other news programs were going to be judged against. George Clooney, in his second directorial job, recreates what he and his co-writer, Grant Heslov, thought about that period at the beginning of the era of television news.
The film has a documentary style that serves well to illustrate the story being told. Most of it occurring in the CBS studios in New York during the fifties. The crisp black and white cinematography, by Robert Elswit, gives the movie a nostalgic look to the way things were done in those days. Mr. Clooney has inserted scenes where a black jazz singer interprets some standard songs as though it might have been the next program following the actual news hour, and act as a buffer in the events being presented.
At the center of the story is Edward R. Murrow, the CBS anchor at the time. Mr. Murrow was greatly admired for his contributions during WWII and his broadcasts from London bringing commentaries about the war to America. Mr. Murrow was a giant in the field, most admired by all Americans because his integrity and the way he presented his stories, which ranged from the sublime, to the ridiculous, as it is the case with the interview with Liberace in Sherman Oaks where he asked the entertainer about his future wedding plans.
The strong cast assembled for the film is excellent. David Strathairn, one of our most versatile actors plays the leading role. His take on Murrow's mannerisms and the way he spoke to his audience in front of the camera is captured with great detail. Mr. Strathairn gives a good performance, but one never really knows much about the man in the way the screen play has been written. Yes, one gets the impression of Mr. Murrow's high ethics, but as far as what made him tick, one has to wait for another biopic to find out.
The ensemble cast plays well under Mr. Clooney's direction. Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Ray Wise, Frank Langella, Jeff Daniels, and George Clooney are seen in the newsroom as they portray their models under Mr. Clooney's direction.
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