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Point of Order!


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Product Details

  • Actors: Roy M. Cohn, Joseph McCarthy, John L. McClellan, Karl E. Mundt, G. David Schine
  • Directors: Emile de Antonio
  • Producers: Emile de Antonio, Robert Duncan, Daniel Talbot, Eliot D. Pratt, Henry Rosenberg
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A59PO2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,194 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Point of Order!" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with editorial director Emile de Antonio (compiled from archival sources)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Chapter Selections
  • Liner notes from EMILE DE ANTONIO: A READER (edited by Douglas Kellner and Dan Streible)

Editorial Reviews

DRAMA ON DVD

Customer Reviews

You can really get a sense of what these people were like.
"anonymous1234567"
The danger McCarthy posed was real: democracy's defenders sometimes, out of fear, risk distroying the very thing they seek to protect.
M. VanEtten
Certainly Cohn and Schine were very close, though it is quite possible that it was Platonic.
Robert Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 89 people found the following review helpful By "hermes246" on February 1, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film, along with "Hollywood On Trial" is among the very best records of what the great American playwright Lillian Hellman called "Scoundrel Time." It shows us not only the face of one demagogue, but of the times which made him. Our nation is fortunate that Joe Welch was there to confront the Junior Senator and that TV was live and showed the face of unrestrained power in the Congress.
One piece is missing, and should be known. I heard Joe Welch's aide interviewed several years ago about the "big moment" when Welch confronted McCarthy. The background was that the Junior Senator's people had met with Welch's people before the hearings. Welch knew of the "doings" with Roy Cohen and G. David Schine and McCarthy knew about the young lawyer. They had agreed, it is said, that if Welch stayed away from the Cohen/gay issue, McCarthy would leave the young lawyer out of it. McCarthy, feeling powerful, is said to have gone back on the agreement and brought up the young lawyer. The "pixie" exchange is the tip of that iceberg.
Should be seen by all Americans who value freedom and admire honesty.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful By blueotter on August 16, 1999
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
There are kids growing up who know nothing about McCarthy andMcCarthyism. This film is right there as McCarthy tries to ruin livesand his methods are shown on national tv (in the first televised hearings) for what they are. Among other things, it makes one wish we had someone of the ability and integrity of Joseph Welch to handle some of the recent hearings that have left the public so disenchanted.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Victor S. Kaufman on March 29, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
Anyone who believes that this video is "slanted to the left" needs to have his or her head examined. This video is nothing more than excerpts from the Army-McCarthy Hearings which demonstrate the impact of the fear of communism -- the Red Scare -- at home. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy -- McCarthyism -- was the ultimate result.

McCarthy's desire to find "communists," real or imagined, destroyed reputations and careers. It also angered his contemporaries, including members of his own party. President Harry Truman, a Democrat, said that McCarthy was the best weapon the communists had because McCarthy was dividing Americans against each other. Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican and Truman's successor, said, "I will not get into a pissing contest with that skunk." Yet trying to bring McCarthy and those who thought like him under control was very difficult. To have come out against McCarthy and those like him would have made McCarthy's attackers look "weak" against communism, which could hurt them politically. Even Eisenhower, despite his contempt for McCarthy, refused to denounce the senator publicly, in part because he feared the impact it could have upon the Republican Party.

"Point of Order" does more than simply show how McCarthyism, by not being brought under control, could place reputations in jeopardy and bring into question the loyalty of individuals and institutions, such as the U.S. Army. It also points to the danger of allowing suspicion, hatred, and fear go unchecked; failure to restrain such emotions opens the door to tyranny. The message presented in "Point of Order," therefore, was not just relevant to Americans in the early Cold War, but remains relevant to them in the post-Cold War era.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By M. VanEtten on November 16, 2005
Format: DVD
I lived through the army - McCarthy hearings as a child: we watched them on tv every day. My parents, who were conservative Republicans, were appalled at what they saw. This video contains excerpts of the hearings as we saw them. The whole country was able to view what was happening--doctored evidence, bullying, intimidation, and a reckless attack on anyone who had the temerity to disagree with him. People were convicted--in Congressional hearings rather than on trial by jury--by association, by hearsay and by innuendo. While there certainly were some Communist spies and sympathizers, many people whose careers were distroyed were in fact innocent. For the first time, we could all see this as it was happening (This was the first time such hearings were broadcast). There was no "liberal slant" in those broadcasts: McCarthy convicted himself by his own actions. My parents, who were no liberals, became convinced by what they saw that McCarthy himself was a true danger to this country.

This documentary is well worth watching. The danger McCarthy posed was real: democracy's defenders sometimes, out of fear, risk distroying the very thing they seek to protect.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Groupzero on December 25, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In a critique elsewhere among the Amazon reviews of this DVD, Fredrick P. Wilson references the Venona project, an intelligence operation that identified numerous Communist undercover agents in the Federal government. While it is true that several of the people Joseph McCarthy accused were also named in the Verona files (made public in 1995), many more were perfectly innocent, loyal Americans. Furthermore, McCarthy was never able to produce a single shred of credible evidence to prove his accusations, and not one person who appeared before his committee was ever convicted of Soviet espionage.

In other words, just because McCarthy may at times have been right, does not change (or justify) the fact that he was a bully, a demagogue, and an opportunist who ruined the lives of numerous innocent Americans, who did far more harm than he did good, who was a disgrace to the Senate and the country, and who in the long run helped the Soviets with his reckless accusations far more than he hindered them.

The film shows a signal moment in our nation's history, when television became the dominant force in American politics. McCarthy's Red-baiting histrionics played well as newspaper headlines and quotes. But when the unblinking eye of television showed him in the flesh, slinging mud in all directions, calling anyone who dared to disagree with him a liar or a fraud or a phony or a Communist sympathizer, he was finished. McCarthy wasn't laid low by Joseph Welsh or Ed Murrow; he was destroyed by TV itself.

I deduct one star from my rating because of the film's somewhat deceptive ending, which uses editing to make it appear as though the hearing room empties while McCarthy continues to rant. In truth the hearings did not end this way, and this sequence plays like a steal from climax of "Inherit the Wind."
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