"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.
Audio Commentary:with George Clooney and Grant Heslov
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