FILM FOR TODAY
Good Night, and Good Luck. PG
(USA/2005) 93 minutes
David Strathairn|George Clooney|Patricia Clarkson
A film about the demise of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who in post-war USA conducted a campaign to root out communists from influential positions. By 1953, it seemed like a witch-hunt. Edward R. Murrow was a CBS television broadcaster who ran a number of critical pieces on his weekly news show. He was an important player in events leading to the Senate investigation of McCarthy that spelt the end of his reign.
The film cleverly blends the actors with archive footage of McCarthy himself. Given that the archive footage was all black-and-white, the whole film is presented similarly, although apparently the new material was shot on colour film stock and corrected in post-production.
Clooney floated his idea for the film in 2005 and was heavily invested in its subject matter - the stifling of political debate through fear of personal consequences. Clooney was paid a token of $1 for each of his contributions to the film: as writer, director and actor. He also had to mortgage his home to raise money to make the film, since no studio would touch it. Costing $7.5m to make, it was a successful project and went on to gross almost $55m. It was nominated for six Academy Awards and has won much critical acclaim.
This film is screened as the first of a double bill, 'Rooting out the Reds', alongside the original 1962 version of The Manchurian Candidate, set in the same febrile Cold War period. While the 1950s may seem a long time ago, the narratives still resonate today in our divided, 'for us or against us' world.
17 April 2023 MONDAY 18:00
Playhouse Main Screen