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 »
Bill Paley says to Murrow: "I'm taking your program from a half an hour to an hour." In fact, the program went from an hour to a half hour. 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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