Good Night and Good Luck (2005)

 

Director: George Clooney

 

This is a great movie.  I had no idea Edward R. Murrow was so courageous.  I knew he had opposed McCarthy, but did not realize how much and how long of a struggle it was for him and his colleagues.  And the president of CBS comes across as a real prick  -- no visionary him.  True, he did not stop the broadcasts but he certainly kept the pressure on the news department to avoid "challenging" the tactics of McCarthy. 

And McCarthy, appearing via news briefs, did a terrific job of presenting himself as the cruel and unfair tyrant that he was. 

And isn't the movie very politically current.  In 2005, we have the fear mongers of the War Against Terror who tried to intimidate those artists (like the Dixie Chicks) for speaking out against President Bush and his chums.  Hollywood has done a lot of movies on the subject of McCarthyism because they were so directly and negatively effected by the witch hunt for political liberals and radicals.   

 

Stars:

George Clooney      (Murrow's co-producer Fred Friendly)
David Strathairn     (Edward R. Murrow)
Robert Downey, Jr. - Joe Wershba
Patricia Clarkson - Shirley Wershba
Frank Langella - William S. Paley
Jeff Daniels - Sig Mickelson
Ray Wise - Don Hollenbeck
Tate Donovan - Jessie Zousmer
Tom McCarthy - Palmer Williams
Matt Ross - Eddie Scott
Reed Diamond - John Aaron
Robert John Burke - Charlie Mack
Grant Heslov - Don HewittHelen Slayton-Hughes - Mary
Rose Abdoo - Millie Lerner
Simon Helberg - CBS Page
Alex Borstein - Natalie
Don Creech - Colonel Jenkins
Peter Jacobson - Jimmy
Dianne Reeves - Jazz Singer
Glenn Morshower - Colonel Anderson
Robert Knepper - Don Surine
J.D. Cullum - Stage Manager

 

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


Historical Background:

1908 – born near Greensboro, North Carolina. He was the youngest son of poor Quaker farmers.

1913 – his family moved to Washington State near the Canadian border.

In high school, he was on the debating team, the basketball team, and was president of the student body in his senior year.

1926 – at age 18 he enrolled in Washington State College in Pullman. He majored in speech.

1929 – he gave a speech before the annual convention of the National Student Federation of America urging students to become more interested in national and world affairs. The speech was so effective, he was elected president of the federation.

1932 - 1935 – he worked as assistant director of the Institute of International Education in New York.

1934 – he married Janet Huntington Brewster.

1935 – Murrow became director of talks at CBS. There was no news department at the network.

1937 – Murrow went to London as director of CBS's European operation. He recruited journalist William L. Shirer, author of the history of the Third Reich.

1938 – when Hitler annexed Austria in the Anschluss, Murrow gained notoriety by arranging for Shirer to come to London to give an uncensored eyewitness account of the events. Reporting from Vienna, Murrow also arranged for a group of commentators in different countries to give their reactions to the Anschluss. The special became the basis for the World News Roundup, the oldest news series that still runs on the radio.

1939 – Murrow begins his commentary on the events of World War II from London. Murrow gathered around him a team (dubbed Murrow’s Boys) that many are familiar with to this day: Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingwood, Richard C. Hottelet, Winston Burdett and Larry LeSueur.

after World War II – Murrow recruited Alexander Kendrick, David Schoenbrun, Daniel Schorr and Robert Pierpoint.

Murrow had also developed a close relationship with his CBS boss, William S. Paley.

1947 – Murrow took over the nightly newscast anchored by his old friend Bob Trout.

1950, – he hosted the weekly CBS Radio show Hear It Now, co-produced by Murrow and Fred Friendly.

Murrow appeared on CBS Television in editorial "tailpieces" on the CBS Evening News.

1951 – Hear It Now moved to television as See It Now. It was on this show that Murrow criticized Senator McCarthy and his political witch hunts.

1953 – Murrow launched a second weekly TV show, Person to Person, interviewing celebrities.

1954 – Murrow and the news team presented their critical report "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy." The CBS network was so scared and intimidated that Murrow and co-producer, Fred Friendly, had to pay for newspaper advertisement for their program and were not allowed to use even the CBS logo.

The broadcast was a success in that it contributed to the backlash against McCarthy and the Red Scare.

McCarthy gave a televised response to Murrow, but this also backfired on McCarthy.

Mid-1950s – the quiz show craze hurt the news programs with which Murrow was involved.

1955 – end of the weekly version of See It Now.

1958 (summer) – end of See It Now following a fight between Murrow and Paley.

1958 – Murrow hosted a the political talk show Small World.

1959 (summer) - mid-1960 – he took a sabbatical (but continued to work on CBS Reports and Small World).

1960 – Murrow narrated the CBS Reports "Harvest of Shame", a report on the plight of migrant farm workers.

1961 – he became the head of the United States Information Agency, parent of the Voice of America.

1965 – lung cancer death of Murrow at the age of 57.

 

 

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