18 November 2005

O & O At The Movies

Last night, KO and I finally got a chance to see Good Night, And Good Luck.

The verdict: A must see…for everyone.

Directed by George Clooney, the film looks at the historic battle between Senator Joseph McCarthy and Edward R. Murrow.

Murrow, considered to be the father of broadcast journalism, battles his network, the senator, and the papers with his rare editorializing in an effort to quell the Communist witch hunt spearheaded by McCarthy.

The film’s themes resonate clearly and can be applied to the politics of the day. For example, take this bold and brilliant commentary from Mr. Murrow and note how it, like the movie itself, applies today:

“We must not confuse dissent for disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”
-- Edward R. Murrow

The pacing of the movie was executed to perfection, and it’s refreshing to know that some Hollywood minds can still cut a film in the day of special effects and “re-imaginings”.

The film’s plot plays out very much like a Greek tragedy, complete with the Greek chorus, utilized brilliantly by Clooney and co-writer/producer Grant Heslow, in the role of the Jazz Singer.

I’ll be honest, old movies and black/white film stock has always been a favorite of mine, so some of my generation may not fully appreciate this movie.

To them I say: Get over it.

Plus, Clooney and Heslow’s story will engross you so fast that it shouldn’t even register.

If you’re looking for a special effects extravaganza, look elsewhere.

If you’re jonesing for a well-written film with wonderful performances from a motley of great actors, check out this movie.

With that, I'll leave you with this quote taken from Mr. Murrow's keynote speech at a Night in His Honor by the Radio and Television News Directors Association of America:

"I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge, and retribution will not limp in catching up with us.

We are to a large extent an imitative society. If one or two or three corporations would undertake to devote just a small traction of their advertising appropriation along the lines that I have suggested, the procedure would grow by contagion; the economic burden would be bearable, and there might ensue a most exciting adventure--exposure to ideas and the bringing of reality into the homes of the nation.

To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.

Stonewall Jackson, who knew something about the use of weapons, is reported to have said, "When war comes, you must draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." The trouble with television is that it is rusting in the scabbard during a battle for survival."

Good Night, and Good Luck.
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