|Good Night and Good Luck [Blu-ray]
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"Good Night And Good Luck." takes place during the early days of broadcast journalism in 1950's America. It chronicles the real-life conflict between television newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee. With a desire to report the facts and enlighten the public Murrow and his dedicated staff - headed by his producer Fred Friendly and Joe Wershba in the CBS newsroom - defy corporate and sponsorship pressures to examine the lies and scaremongering tactics perpetrated by McCarthy during his communist 'witch-hunts'. A very public feud develops when the Senator responds by accusing the anchor of being a communist. In this climate of fear and reprisal the CBS crew carries on and their tenacity will prove historic and monumental.Running Time: 93 min.Format: BLU-RAY DISC Genre: DRAMA UPC: 012569828421 Manufacturer No: 82842
Without force-feeding its timely message, Good Night, and Good Luck illuminates history to enlighten our present, when the need for a free and independent press is more important than ever. In 90 breathtaking minutes of efficient and intricate storytelling, writer-director George Clooney and cowriter Grant Heslov pay honorable tribute to the journalistic integrity of legendary CBS newscaster Edward R. Murrow, who confronted the virulent and overzealous anti-Communist witch-hunting of Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1953-54, and emerged as a triumphant truth-seeker against the abuses of corporate and governmental power. As played by David Strathairn, Murrow is a dogged realist, keenly aware of the smear tactics that will be employed against him; Clooney provides crucial backup as Murrow's "See It Now" producer and closest confidante Fred Friendly, forming a fierce but not entirely fearless triumvirate of broadcasting bravery with CBS chief William Paley (Frank Langella), who anxiously champions Murrow's cause under constant threat of reprisals. While using crisp black-and-white cinematography (by Robert Elswit) to vividly recreate the electrifying atmosphere of the CBS newsroom and the early years of television, Clooney (son of long-time Cincinnati newsman Nick Clooney) proves his directorial skill by juggling big themes and an esteemed ensemble cast, never stooping to simplification of ethically complex material. Good Night, and Good Luck is an instant classic, destined for all the accolades it so richly deserves. --Jeff Shannon
- Edward R. Morrow against Joseph McCarthy
You had to be around in the 50's to understand that Edward R. Morrow was as much a hero as a newsman as one could want.
The red scare hate monger Joseph McCarthy was a lot like George Bush's use of torture in the fight against terrorism: the campaign seemed right in cold war terms to many in the military.
Casualties of the black listing in the 50's read like an intellectual's whose who. One of the last ones was Dr. Oppenheimer who for philosophical reasons opposed the H-bomb proliferation after having been the leader in the development of the A-bomb in the late WWII years.
I really wish that there had been more TV newsmen with guts like Edward R. Morrow....more info
- "We Cannot Defend Freedom Abroad By Deserting It At Home"
During the early 1950s the United States of America valued conformity over honesty and integrity--a social lockstep driven by fears that the Soviet Union had infiltrated American government and society and sought to bring our society crashing into chaos. As the decade progressed, a number of politicians played upon those fears to their own greater glory, and few played harder than Senator Joseph McCarthy, who shocked the nation when he claimed to have factual evidence that numerous branches of the government were overrun by communists and communist sympathizers.
Over the past decade or so a number of historians and critics, Anne Coulter among the latter, have attempted to rehabilitate Senator McCarthy's reputation by noting that there were indeed communist infiltrators at work in the United States government. This was doubtlessly true, but there are several problems with this pro-McCarthy argument. Chief among them is McCarthy himself. His accusations were not based on fact and were strewn with misinformation, and he showed a marked tendency to level them against two types of people: those who could not fight back and those who dared to criticize him. If McCarthy ever did manage to expose a communist it was by dumb luck only, and by 1954 even the members of his own party--including President Dwight Eisenhower--were openly disgusted by his behavior.
GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK is the story of how Edward R. Murrow, possibly the single most respected reporter of his era, exposed McCarthy for what he was via a meticulously prepared news program. In the wake of this broadcast an outraged public turned against McCarthy and thus gave the Senate the public support required to end his reign of terror. At the same time, it is also the story of television's role as entertainer ultimately undercut its role as news medium--and laid the destructive seeds of the "news as entertainment" format that today typically overpowers serious journalism.
It is in many respects a fascinating film, its script drawn from the actual words of the actual people involved in the Murrow telecast. It is memorably directed by George Clooney and remarkably performed by an ensemble cast that includes David Staitham, Robert Downey Jr., Frank Langella, and Clooney himself. The black and white art direction and cinematography is brilliant, truly capturing the look and feel of the era; the pace is rapid fire; and it offers a series of pointed warnings about political bankruptcy and public expectations of television that ring true in no uncertain terms.
Unfortunately, it also manages to ever so slightly miss the mark. This is partly due to the film's divided intent: by refusing to focus specifically on either McCarthy or the issue of broadcast news it manages shortchange both. It also errs in its use of considerable archival footage, which leaves us to wonder if we might be better off watching a documentary on McCarthy and Murrow instead of GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK. But the ultimate problem with the film is that gives zero context. We are told nothing of the tenor of times, given no clear idea of what made McCarthy's claims seem initially viable, and indeed given no clear idea of what those claims actually were. We are simply given to understand that he is a danger to democracy and shown actual film footage of McCarthy to prove what we are assumed to already know.
In the end, I have to say that it is always a good thing to be reminded of McCarthy. He stands as a warning to us against those who would play upon our fears for the sake of their own power. It is also always a good thing to be reminded that "finest hour" events in television news tend to be few and far between largely because of the commercial, entertainment-oriented nature of the medium. But GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LOOK isn't entirely successful in making its points in either direction. The DVD includes a making-of documentary that is reasonably interesting and an audio commentary that is largely spurious. Recommended, but primarily for those who already have enough historical knowledge to fill in the gaps.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer...more info
- SLICE OF HISTORY
Good movie. Good acting. Almost could pass for a documentry. Had me looking at the credits to see who the performers were in the hearing. After going through it again I realized, the actual hearings were being used. Now that's a movie!...more info
- The black and white world of demagogues
It is fitting that the film is in black and white not just for the period feel but also for the world that it represented. The world of the commie-hunters was a black and white world of American and un-American forces. It was a world that attempted to separate the people and keep them in fear to discourage dissent. The black and white demagogues never change whether the enemy be communism or terrorism it is a tool to engender fear in those who might disagree with their views. McCarthyism is not dead, it just wears a different label over the years.
Though I do not care for Mr. Clooney's politics, I have to say he did a wonderful job on this work. The docu-drama format is engrossing and gives the feel that you are there in the drama as it unfolds. The commentary it entails in the realm of commercial news and the dialog it can lead to are invaluable. It would be a great movie to initiate discussions in a small group. Movies that make you think with intense drama, that is what we would like to see more of from hollywood. One hopes Mr. Clooney will have more such thought-provoking works for us in the future....more info
- Political drama at its best
A wonderful political drama. George Clooney did an amazing job as a triple threat on this picture. His acting isn't anything spectacular, but his writing and directing is. David Strathairn is powerful in his role as Edward R. Murrow. The movie is intense and the idea to shoot it in black-and-white proved to be brilliant and to add to the suspense and gives i an all together different dimension (in addition to placing the viewer into that period)....more info
- A Snapshot of Broadcasting History
The film begins in a restaurant or night club where no one is heard. There is an award for Edward R. Murrow (who smokes like in an advertisement). Murrow talks about the use of TV to delude its viewer. The introduction is false. Senator Joseph McCarthy was not the prime mover in the Anti-Communist movement, he was at the tail-end. President Truman began his Loyalty Oath program around 1946, and there were others in Congress. This film starts in October 1953. An Air Force Lieutenant is in trouble because his father read an uncensored newspaper. Can the TV network put on this show when the sponsor has military contracts? Can someone be found guilty because of rumors? The sponsor is "the thinking man's cigarette"!
Murrow's next project will be Senator Joe McCarthy, but his staff must be above suspicion. They use the filmed speeches of McCarthy, then provide a "truth squad" to correct McCarthy's statements. Murrow's team wonders what the reaction would be. Then Senator McCarthy gives his response: he attacks Murrow with name calling! Murrow points out McCarthy's lack of facts. Next we learn the Senate will investigate McCarthy for using undue influence on the Army. [In 1960 a presidential candidate had a problem when his TV persona didn't match the newspaper reports.]
There is a problem with this TV business. The sponsor has pulled out. News shows are more costly than game shows, and less popular. Murrow's show will be relocated to Sunday afternoon. Murrow argues for educating people about what is happening, not mindless entertaining. So what has happened since the 1950s? How educational is TV news today? Can they replace the daily newspapers? [TV is best for entertaining, newspapers for news; it's the nature of the thing.]
Tabloid newspapers sell by promising to reveal unknown facts about famous persons. Are the facts true? The people who read them don't know, it occupies their minds and amuses them. TV shows (like "Jerry Springer" or "Judge Judy") display the facts about strangers to entertain viewers, all in fun. TV allowed people to see McCarthy in the flesh rather than second hand opinion in print. Live views affected the opinions of many to discredit McCarthy. TV triumphed here and went on to snatch advertising dollars from weekly national magazines and local newspapers. Perhaps a book would provide a more rounded view of the 1950s.
PS The critics of this film have some unrecognized problems. People were being punished for doing something years ago that was not illegal (signing petitions!). They were punished by anonymous rumors (Amendment VI). Most of all, people who had been undercover agents could be punished for their past actions. Anyone working for the Pentagon who joined a political faction was an obvious double agent.
- What's All the Fuss About?
The lead actor bore an uncanny resemblance to the real Edward R. Murrow, and there was a lot of realistic smoking for a movie set in the `50s, but otherwise I'd didn't understand all the adulation for what was to me a short, boring movie that seemed much longer. Maybe I've just seen too many biopics lately....more info
- Would you rather be yellow or red?
Good Night, and Good Luck was the famous television sign-off by one of American television's most famous journalists; Edward R. Morrow of CBS. Jumping into the national spotlight with his work during WWII, Morrow became a mainstay of American TV during the 1950s. This show expands on one of the most important chapters of his career, his initial and public questioning of Senator McCarthy's tactics on his news show. This questioning would be the beginning of the end for McCarthy, as it led others to oppose the red-baiting senator, and eventually to his censure by the US Senate.
The entire movie is shown in black and white to parallel television of that time. The primary setting is the studios and offices of CBS, and occasionally the homes and restaurants frequented by the employees of CBS at that time. George Clooney is not the star of this movie, but certainly deserved the Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination. No, the star is David Straithairn, who plays Edward R. Morrow. The face and voice are spot on. Outside of the central confrontation between McCarthy and Morrow, the movie subtly highlights many other features of life in the 1950s. One for example is the marriage between two of the CBS employees. Many US corporations at that time banned employees from marrying each other, but if you were high enough in the chain of command, you could probably get by with a wink of the eye and purposeful ignorance of your co-workers. Another example is the prevalence of smoking in the workplace, something that essentially disappeared in corporate America by the 1980s.
The movie and its central conflict are bookended by a speech Morrow gives at an awards function in which he attacks the transformation of television from a medium of inspiration and education to a medium of entertainment. All in all, a great movie. It comes in at 1.5 hours, and so flows quite quickly. It is worth watching....more info
- A film for today
I was a child during the McCarthy era, then studied history during my college years. I remember hearing the Murrow broadcasts, and seeing the old films of the See it Now programs where McCarthy was criticized and when he was allowed to give his rebuttal. This film brings it all to life in marvelous performances that never veer into parody. The decision to not choose an actor for McCarthy but to rather use his actual broadcast is a good one....more info
- An important new classic
This is a fascinating movie, but certainly not empty-headed entertainment. It reminds you of critical lessons of history and it challenges you to think. I "shelve" it with the likes of Judgment at Nuremberg, Inherit the Wind, Grapes of Wrath, Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition), All the President's Men (Two-Disc Special Edition), Amistad, Amazing Grace, etc. A must see. ...more info
- Good Night and Good Luck DVD
Great service, great movie, great Christmas gift. I'm very pleased with this transaction and product....more info
- Maybe 4.5 stars...
...but still the *true* winner of "Best Picture" for 2006. I think that GNGL is something of a revelation. It manages to create an inspired iconography without smacking the viewer's head with it. Clooney's direction is absolutely superb. The cinematography on display makes excellent use of B&W, and then almost eavesdropping-like quality of the shots is, for me at least, entertaining as hell. It is a very understated movie, but if you let it reveal itself to you, it is excellent, and in my opinion, one of the best films of the new century.
I noticed that some reviewers feel that the movie lacked some emotion. I can understand this to a certain degree, and I think it might have something to do with the script (which did become perhaps a bit too verbose for characters who probably did not talk like that), but it is certainly not reflective on the actors. Downey Jr., as always, does a fantastic job, and any potential faults of the other performances seem to disappear thanks to Clooney's direction.
As for the DVD, the extras are a bit skimpy. There is a nice commentary by Clooney and co-screenwriter Heslov, as well as a "companion piece" about the making of the film, in context of the guidance of relatives of those involved in the Murrow/McCarthy feud. I think that there could certainly be more stuff to throw out there, from archival footage not used in the film and perhaps the rise of McCarthyism.
Otherwise, this movie is great. Strathairn gives an awesome performance as Murrow, and the movie manages to flesh out the personalities, the triumphs, and the tragedies surrounding this time in US history within 90 minutes....more info
- Godawful movie
I bought this DVD after the Oscar hype. It is perhaps one of the worst movies I have seen.
I can't figure out which is more atrocious - the screen play or meandering direction. Basically it is like a 20 minute documentary stretched out to full length movie with lots of unnecessary plot diversions.
- Instant Classic
Originally, I thought the movie is going to be dry and dull to watch. Surprisingly, it's captivating and been made intelligently. It never condescends and telling it as it is about the necessity of letting journalists doing what they are good at, telling stories as they are in an impartial way. Despite fanaticism during McCarthy era, thumbs up to CBS for standing tall and proud albeit cautiously debating about justification of witch hunting and destroying people's lives along the way for allegedly being communist and/or communist sympathisers. This reminds me also of the Russian journalist, Anna that was a victim of contract killing in Russia last year for her coverage of issues ranging from Putin, Checnya, Beslan, mafias in Russia, corruption and so forth. It's truly remarkable to see certain people that show fighting spirit and courage under fire. Truly an inspiration for us to take a stand when it is required. Commendable watching....more info
- Takes you back in time. Beautiful movie -- my top 10
Takes you back in time. Incredible cinematography. Beautifully styled movie -- this is definitely in my top 10....more info
- Good Night, and Good Luck
Very good movie with an excellent transfer to DVD.
Storyline holds your interest while the acting could not be better.
It is difficult for people from another country to fully understand how McCarthy obtained so much of hold on the American public, even if it was for a short period of time.
It shows journalism at it's best.
This black and white period piece captures your attention immediately. it also seems to reflect, IMHO, how history truely repeats itself. How politicans to this day imploy fear tactics to get their agenda across. Today, however, there more than just two sides of a coin and harder to navigate and decide what's real journalism. Excellent performances-though I didn't understand the significance of Robert Downey Jr. and the actress that play his wife characters were, but over all I found the movie entertaining. Highly Recommended....more info
- Good Night and Good Luck
Good movie. George Cluny is excellent, and the story is well told....more info
- Good Night, and Good Luck
Good Night, and Good Luck is the story of veteran radio and TV journalist Edward R. Murrow's conflict with U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy over the Senator's anti-Communist actions among other things.
It's a bit politic heavy, but a very insightful, and emotionally charged movie. The movie sports a great cast, a great script, and great directoion. George Clonney, coming off of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind directs this completely different picture. I recommend this to everyone. It's a movie everyone can, and should see.
Highly recommended....more info
This movie reminded me of the original 12 Angry Men (I haven't seen the re-make). At first I thought it was going to be a bore, but what the film offers from just talking heads inside a few rooms is well worth it. It's a compelling story and the actors seem very natural. I highly recommend this film....more info
- Like a long lecture by a very boring professor
I was eager to watch this film and like it. This movie is the definition of lackluster. Dull, boring, and dry. There is no attempt to explain the real reason for anti-communist paranoia and that makes the film feel historically unbalanced.
Controversy always has more than one side. There simply isn't much room in Clooney's world for type of real controversy that would have given the film some dramatic tension and turned it into serious entertainment. Don't lose your time watching this. Stay away from this movie. ...more info
- Very good
This film is a salutary lesson in the fact that the USA goes through regular fits of total barminess, such as the one currently being endured under the present theocracy. In the early 1950s, Wisconsin, a state famous for two reasons only, dairy products and the Green Bay Packers, acquired a dubious third, a junior Senator called Joseph McCarthy, who sought to make a name for himself by finding Reds under nearly every bed. It was an era when people could lose jobs because they were risks to national security, based on evidence they weren't allowed to see and when the media were relatively subdued for fear of being labelled as "unpatriotic" or even "treasonous". Sound familiar?
The story is of the confrontation between McCarthy and the distinguished CBS newsman Ed Murrow, famous for his broadcasts from London during the Blitz ("Goodnight, and good luck" was his London sign-off - after all, nobody knew whether there was a Luftwaffe bomb with your name on it - which he kept). On his CBS news show, Murrow calmly and methodically exposed McCarthy for the humbug that he was, and when McCarthy tried to smear him, equally calmly and methodically took him apart. It was the end of the road for McCarthyism (although the whole travesty of un-American activities, blacklisted Hollywood writers, etc., was to continue for some years).
The film is in black and white and features director George Clooney in a secondary role. Murrow is played by David Strathairn, who looks passably like Murrow, and he does a splendid job as the determined journalist. No actor plays McCarthy, he being played by himself, on old TV recordings. Another good role is CBS's long-suffering boss, forever on the verge of becoming a nervous wreck because of the fear of Murrow's crusading scaring away the sponsors. In the end, he tells Murrow that his type of reporting is no longer required and changes the nature of his show.
Which brings us to the beginning and the end of the film. The story is bookended by a speech that Murrow gave to a radio and TV association meeting, which was a litany of complaint of how television, a powerful force for enlightenment, was becoming a trivial medium, lacking serious meaning and squandering its potential. It wasn't popular, but how right it was...
All in all, a short film (less than 1? hours) effectively executed and well worth seeing. The atmosphere and feel of the time (including endless cigarettes!) are beautifully captured.
I have a feeling for most people this is the kind of movie that you've either already seen or aren't interested in. But I'll go ahead and sing its praises anyway.
For fellow history buffs, this is a real treat. It mixes in Hollywood stars with lots of old archival footage to give a film that feels like a gripping drama and a documentary at the same time. Although websites like wikipedia draw attention to some of the accuracy gaps in the film, I still felt like I learend a lot.
And, although I'm far from the first person to mention this, its subject material couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. As you listen to discussions of civil liberties, secret military tribunals, the act of habeas corpus, and the rights of the accused to fair trial, you can't help but compare it to recent events.
If you haven't seen this movie yet, I can't recommend it enough.
- sophisticated, flawless and riveting
Good Night, and Good Luck tells us the gripping true story of how famed television journalist Edward R. Murrow (played so well by David Strathairn) dared to speak against the over-zealous and ferocious anti-Communist Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy (seen here in black and white newsreel clips to make this film feel all the more real). The cinematography is excellent and David Strathairn does a superlative job of portraying the nervous yet very brave Murrow; and the plot moves along at a very good pace. Look also for a strong performance by Ray Wise as Don Hollenbeck; and Frank Langella is completely convincing as CBS top man Bill Paley.
When the action starts, we see a banquet to honor Edward R. Murrow in 1958; and when Murrow begins to speak the story begins in flashback form. We see the tensions of a bustling, mightily busy newsroom at CBS; and it's not long before we see Edward Murrow and his "partner" Fred Friendly (George Clooney). Fred produces Murrow's TV shows; and Murrow often confides in Fred as well. Murrow begins to be appalled at the actions of Senator McCarthy and wants to expose him as a master of manipulation and terror who wants to expose "Communists" even if the person never was a Communist.
It isn't easy. You probably know how the story goes and what the ending will be; but that doesn't keep you from being rivted to your seat in anticipation of the next twist and turn in the story. Eventually McCarthy comes on Murrow's show to offer his rebuttal--but the outcome of that is clear especially in hindsight.
The film is shot in black and white which heightens its artistic qualities; the choice of black and white also highlights the darkness of McCarthy's soul and the nervous tension and paranoia McCarthyism caused. Black and white was a brilliant choice for this picture. The close-ups of David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow do a marvelous job of showing just how much anxiety Murrow had--but Murrow goes through with it all anyway because he believed in what he was doing and he believed that he was right. Fortunately, Murrow had his producer/friend Fred Friendly on his side; although there are some unpleasant encounters with Bill Paley who must manage profitability.
Look also for the great Dianne Reeves to sing a number of stellar ballads throughout this movie. The sound track should be available on CD if you're interested. In addition, the DVD comes with a "companion piece" which is essentially a short "making of" featurette; and we get an optional running commentary by Director/Writer George Clooney and Co-Writer/Producer Grant Heslov as well. Excellent!
I highly recommend this film for fans of the actors in this movie; and students of 20th century American history will find this to be a fascinating film. McCarthyism was a dark time in our nation's history; and this film helps us to remember that it must never be forgotten.
- Television Broadcast News' Golden Age Seems A Tad Lackluster Here...
George Clooney's second attempt at the triple threat of filmmaking (actor/writer/director) that in 2005 got him and the film Oscar nominated 6 times (and winning none) sorta to me after five years didn't seem all that impressive. The true story of 1950's CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow's battle against the mass accusation of communism brought by then Senator Joseph McCarthy should have been alot more enthralling than this. Clooney definitely has the power to bring in some great A-List actors (Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels, Patricia Clarkson, Frank Langella), but the story as a whole seems bogged down by pacing and too much stock footage used of the actual broadcasted interviews and original people involved. Murrow here is portrayed by character actor David Strathairn, who no doubt is very well at his craft, but lacks any real punch or drive like the real Murrow showed over fifty years ago. As a history lesson, it does educate the viewer in the now-absurd public witchhunt of the 1950's, but at times tends to entertain more like a school lesson than a motion picture. Disc includes a very low-played commentary with Clooney and fellow screenwriter/actor Grant Heslov (who's acting credits date back as far as Clooney's with an almost equally embarrassing early resume....he did a "Facts Of Life" with George too), a doc on the film (that's in color) with some of the real life people left alive, and a trailer that I swear makes this movie look alot more exciting than it actually was. Clooney does prove he can direct a movie, but I still think with this story that gripped a nation he could have been played a bit more....gripping.
(RedSabbath Rating:6.5/10)...more info
- Well done movie...
... But it is not the truth. Since the wall fell, we have learned that old joe was right. Hey, I bet in a few years Clooney will make a film about how honest and truthful Bill Clinton was!...more info
- Good Night and Good Luck
Good Night and Good Luck is an excellent movie. The proper use of the English (American) language is emphasized. The musical soundtrack is equal to the rest of the script and well suited.
Add to the foregoing that the movie is primarily historically accurate and presented in black and white as its very subject(s) were boradcast during the 1950s, and the package is pretty well complete.
Used in Journalism class. Those who "get it" really appreciate the language and wit....more info