Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Good Night & Good Luck

The Cold War began after World War Two. The main enemies were the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold war got its name because both sides were afraid of fighting each other directly. In such a "hot war," nuclear weapons might destroy everything. So, instead, they fought each other indirectly. They supported conflicts in different parts of the world. They also used words as weapons. They threatened and denounced each other. Or they tried to make each other look foolish. 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.

During his ten years in the Senate, McCarthy and his staff gained notoriety for making freewheeling accusations of membership in the communist party or of communist sympathies. These accusations were directed towards people in the U.S. government, particularly employees of the State Department, and those whose works were carried in government libraries overseas.

As a result, the term McCarthyism was coined to specifically describe the intense anti-Communist movement that existed in America from 1950 to about 1956, a time which became popularly known as the Red Scare. During this period, people from all walks of life who were suspected of being Soviet spies or Communist sympathizers were brought before Congressional inquiries. These inquiries later came to be referred to as "witch hunts" by McCarthy's detractors.

However, CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred Friendly decided to take a stand and challenge McCarthy and expose him for the fear monger he was. Mainstream historians consider Murrow among journalism's greatest figures; Murrow hired a top-flight cadre of war correspondents and was noted for honesty and integrity in delivering the news. Pioneers of television news broadcasting Murrow and Friendly broadcast a revealing See It Now documentary analysis on Senator Joseph McCarthy which has been credited with changing the public view of McCarthy, and being a key event in McCarthy's fall from power.

Good Night & Good Luck is about this fervent time in American history and uses much real footage from the trials and news broadcasts making the film a quasi-documentary drama. The acting is supberb all round and whether you enjoy this film or not is up to whether you find the subject matter interesting. At certain times I felt I would rather watch an out and out documentary rather than fiction to have clarity with the subject matter. However, this is a minor quibble and doesn't detract from the story being told. An enjoyable film to watch and could possibly give Clooney his first Oscar. Stay tuned.

I would give this film 3.5 cold wars out of 5.



Blogger Skry said...

Sounds like a good film and I love anyone who hates the American Government! :P

I'm also interested in the Cold War and history in general, so if you still have that one can I borrow it next time I see you? Wouldn't mind giving it a "Def Con # out of Def Con 5" rating some time.

12:10 am  

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