Good Night and Good Luck
Office love bugs, Joseph and Shirley (Robert Downey Jr. and Patricia Clarkson), are both naturally deterred by it. Producer, Fred Friendly (George Clooney), has been warned by the United States Air Force to stop it from happening. Whilst corporate executives, Frank Langella and Sig Mickelson (William Paley and Jeff Daniels), are scared of any adverse reprisals it may bring. Nonetheless, Edward Murrows (David Strathairn), who is the host / journolost of the 1953 CBS television program, 'See It Now', knows that it's exactly the right thing to do.
Alright, I know what your thinking to yourself -- what is this 'it' I keep on referring to? A one on one conversation with Liberace, live at his palatial home? Nah! Not really. Instead 'its' all to do with a broadcast that Edward makes, where he elaborates on how Joseph McCarthy's 'anti-communist' manhunt is affecting the people of America, emphasising that hearsay and conjecture does not necessarily result in truth, justice, and all that jazz.
Now is Edward a nut you may ask? And how can a journalist fight back against a governmental edict in this rather tele-visual manner? Well, especially when you take into consideration that numerous rumors do leak to the fore about how his coverage could affect CBS studios and its staff in turn!
Still, Edward knows that McCarthy's tactics are not 'fair game' within the scheme of things, and he backs up his stance by broadcasting yet another attack against this Wisconsin Senator, this time goading him to back-up his shenanigans with logic and candor.
Ouch! What a tough cookie! Right? Plus I suppose that is why what next transpired all kicks off when a battle of words fly over the airwaves! As an old friend takes a fall - political factions have a ball - staff members could not give a f*ck - plus lets not forget, good night, and good luck.
Now in my most humble opinion 'Good Night, and Good Luck', is a magnificent film which does four different things very-very well. Firstly, it tells a story about a rather shoddy period of American history, and how 'those on high' were talking out of their collective asses for the sake of control and controversy. Secondly, it is a well focused story, and does not try to detract from the matter at hand by adding a 'love interest' or a 'chase scene' for the sake of drama or extravaganza. Thirdly, this is a period piece, and conveys a style and an elegance that is very apt for the time that it is trying to convey. And fourthly, this movie make's a very important statement about how both the media and the government are there to serve the people, and not themselves.
Honestly, I feel that this film should be shoved down the throats of many a journalist and politician -- just to show them that they need to take a good long look at themselves, for what they want to achieve out of their respective careers.
Well, let's face it, a journalist or a politician should be as accountable for their actions, than a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, of a member of the clergy. Why should the common man -- or woman for that matter -- just sit back and take all the cr*p that is being dealt to them day in, day out? Moreover, why are there not more people like Edward Murrows and his ilk around today? As I am sure that the world would be a much better place if this was so.
OK - OK - OK. I know. I best calm myself down. Why not with some filmic-facts? (1) The actor / director of this piece, George Clooney, is very conversant in the area that this film explores. He majored in journalism in college. Plus his father, Nick Clooney, was a television journalist for many-many years. (2) The title of this film, 'Good Night, and Good Luck', was a famous phrase Edward picked up whilst he was a war correspondent in
during the forties. (3) Joseph Raymond McCarthy was played by himself in this
flick. Granted, it is an old recorded version of this Republican Senator during
the mid-fifties. Nevertheless, it was still Joe. (4)
This picture was captured using color film via a grey-scale pallet, before
being color-corrected in post-production. (5) You can see a young Robert
F Kennedy amidst the footage of John L. Clellan being questioned by Joseph
McCarthy. (6) The original concept behind this flick was only supposed to me
made into a CBS television special. (7) The Edward Murrow's speech that
book-ended this film was taken verbatim from the keynote speech he delivered at
the RTNA convention in 1958. (8) Actor, David Strathairm, is an avid
non-smoker, and decided to smoke pipe-tobacco through a prop cigarette for his
portrayal of this famous smoker, Edward Murrows. (9) The total cost of this
movie was $7 million. It received $54,641,191 at the box-office. And it was
nominated for six academy awards and six BAFTA's. (10) The band playing in this
movie is Matt Catingub and his band. George chose Matt's ensemble because he
liked their work on his Auntie's album - Rosemary Clooney.
So am I better now after I've expunged my trivia? Yeah. A little bit. Though I wished that I was as calm and as collected as 'Good Night, and Good Luck' was! You see, not only is this film well focused, well acted, well stylish, and well informative. But in addition to this, it goes to show that actors don't need to 'act' to tell a tale, they just have to behave like normal people do and serve the story.
Nigh on through out this piece you will never see any of the actors grandstanding or gestating to the camera, as if to overemphasize a 'point' or a 'key-moment'. Well, I suppose they don't have to, do they. The story is truth. And all they have to do is live in the moment, just like...
Bless you Ed. Both you and this movie are a class act to follow. Say no more.
THE RATING: A