Cinema - Good Night and Good Luck

Senator Joe McCarthy was a US lawyer who used the anti-communist hysteria engendered by the Korean War in the USA in the early fifties to manipulate a smear campaign against left-wingers, claiming hundreds of journalists, writers, actors and politicians were communist traitors. The political climate became akin to a medieval epidemic of witch-hunting. Hundreds of intellectuals and entertainers were blacklisted; many fled to Europe where they could speak, write and think freely. Goodnight and Good Luck examines the part that a TV broadcaster Edward Murrow plays in McCarthy’s downfall in 1954. “We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason,” said Murrow in his show, See it Now. “If we dig deep into our own history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular.”

While the film exaggerates the role the show played in McCarthy’s downfall, it is a well-acted, well-shot and bravely rule-breaking movie, filmed in black and white, largely in smoky rooms, with little physical action. It is also very timely. After you have watched it you wonder whether or not we are living in an age in which the government is stirring up a state of hysteria as a smokescreen to help it achieve its own ends. You wonder whether there is a figure like Joe McCarthy down the line. And you sincerely hope there isn’t. DL

Witch-hunt saboteur - Edward Murrow stopped Joe McCarthy
in his tracks
All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? 6pm (and Sunday 7.45pm)
How Much? £4.50
Lewes Cinema
(w) Website