Saturday, November 5, 2005


Historical drama

Joseph McCarthy was born in 1908 on a farm in Appleton, Wisconsin. After graduating from Marquette University, he worked as a lawyer but was not very successful and had to supplement his income by playing poker.
In an election to become a circuit court judge, McCarthy shocked local officials by fighting a dirty campaign. This included publishing campaign literature that falsely claimed that his opponent, Edgar Werner, was 73: he was actually 66. In addition, he said Werner was senile and was guilty of financial corruption. There was no evidence either claim had any merit.
McCarthy entered federal politics and won a seat as the Republican Senator for the state of Wisconsin. In May 1950, afraid that he would be defeated in the next election, he came up with the idea that he should begin a campaign against communist subversives working in the Democratic administration. With the war going badly in Korea and communist advances in Eastern Europe and in China, the American public were genuinely frightened about the possibilities of internal subversion.
For the next two years McCarthy investigated various government departments and questioned a large number of people about their political past. Some people lost their jobs after they admitted they had been members of the Communist Party. McCarthy made it clear to the witnesses that the only way of showing that they had abandoned their left-wing views was by naming other members of the party.
This witch-hunt and anti-communist hysteria became known as McCarthyism.

David Strathairn: Edward R. Murrow, to many the most distinguished and renowned figure in the history of American broadcast journalism
Ray Wise: Don Hollenbeck, CBS-TV news commentator
Frank Langella: William S. Paley, CBS Network Chairman of board
George Clooney: Fred Friendly, CBS News producer
Robert Downey, Jr: Joe Wershba, a newsroom employee
Patricia Clarkson: Shirley, a colleague of Joe
Grant Heslov: Don Hewitt, a newsroom reporter

For those interested in American history and television journalism, this is a “must-see”. Others would find it a bore because the movie puts you right in the middle of the action. Mostly centred on the continuing battle between Senator McCarthy and the media, there are side issues brought to light as well. The acting is top-notch throughout.

for mild thematic elements and brief language.

Shot in black and white, this perfectly fits with the time period when these events took place.

The initial "S" in Paley’s name stood for nothing. He added it in his early business years since it “has a nice ring about it”. He had no formal middle name.

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