I don’t often mention movies in this blog because I’m just not very good at critiquing them. For me, movies are most often an escape. Usually, I’ll watch a movie, like it or not like it, then move on without giving much thought to either the movie or why I felt the way I did about it. There are about a million bloggers better at covering movies than I am, so why bother?
But last night I watched Good Night, and Good Luck, a docudrama directed by George Clooney and starring David Strathairn, George Clooney, and Joseph McCarthy. Strathaim and Clooney played Edward R Murrow and Fred Friendly, respectively, and McCarthy plays himself. The whole film is in black and white; I watched it on blu-ray and it was amazing to watch. It’s weird for me to be saying that about a black and white movie, but seriously it was stunning.
Now most of the people reading blogs weren’t around during the ‘Red Scare’ and I’m no exception, but we’ve heard about the ‘McCarthy Witch Hunts’ and the black lists. We’ve seen the Twilight Zone episodes that were inspired by the paranoia of the day, and we’ve heard how everyone was afraid to speak out for fear of being accused of being a Communist.
We’ve heard about it, but seeing it was a whole ‘nother ballgame. Clooney didn’t cast anyone in the role of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Rather, he used actual footage from the hearings and from McCarthy’s television appearances. Joe McCarthy was brilliant in his role. 🙂 According to the Good Night, and Good Luck page at IMDB, Clooney said that test audiences complained “that the McCarthy character was overacting a bit, not realizing that it was the actual McCarthy through archive footage”. Now I wouldn’t believe everything you read on IMDB, but it’s a believable bit of trivia.
It’s easy to look back in this era and think “That could never happen today.” but of course it could and does, on both grand and micro scales. Well, I’ll hold back on the proselytizing.
But this was a damned fine film, and I urge you to give it a try.