Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning in Lithia, Florida, on Friday, July 8, 2022. It is a sultry subtropical summer day here in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 81°F (27°C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 88% and the wind blowing from the south-southeast at 4 MPH (7 KM/H), the heat index is 80°F (26°C). Today’s forecast calls for light rain during the day and a high of 93°F (34°C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy; the low will be 76°F (24°C).
Last night I finally got around to watching actor-director George Clooney’s 2005 historical drama Good Night, and Good Luck. Set in the McCarthy era of the early 1950s, the short – it is only 93 minutes long – film focuses on the conflict between legendary CBS News reporter and TV presenter Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and the infamous Red-baiting junior Senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy shortly before the latter – seen in archival footage from the era – self-destructed his political career in a truly frightening witch hunt for imaginary Communists in the U.S government.
Co-written by Clooney with producer Grant Heslov. Good Night, and Good Luck delves into the “dark side of the Fifties and the paranoia that many Americans – mostly conservatives, but also otherwise rational liberals – felt during the Red Scare that began when McCarthy and other Republicans accused the Democratic Administration of President Harry S. Truman of “coddling” known Communists and pro-Soviet “fellow travelers” in the early years of the Cold War.
“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. – Packaging blurb on the reverse cover of the Blu-ray jewel case
Because Clooney and his creative team decided to use archival film in scenes featuring McCarthy instead of casting a look-alike, sound-alike actor to play him, the film is a rarity – a black-and-white film made in the early 2000s. I think this works rather well, especially since there are conservatives in the 2020s who pine for the Fabulous Fifties and would accuse the filmmakers of overly dramatizing the clearly unhinged McCarthy.
Interestingly, former President Donald Trump’s late mentor, Roy Cohn, is seen in some of this archival footage, adding fuel to McCarthy’s ruthless, persistent, and un-American search for “Reds” in the halls of government and in the armed forces, basing his accusations on hearsay, rumors, and bald-faced lies.
I will write a more complete review soon; I wanted to do it today, but I am feeling under the weather, thanks to the inevitable coronavirus pandemic that’s still around everywhere. I don’t feel like death warmed over, but by the same token I have a nagging headache, some bouts of coughing, and a low-grade fever.
And on this note, Dear Reader, I’ll take my leave of you for the day. If all goes well, I’ll be here tomorrow. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.