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Goodnight, and Good Luck - Preview

George Clooney in Goodnight, and Good Luck

Preview by Jack Foley

GEORGE Clooney continues to grow in stature as a film-maker of genuine worth.

As an actor he oozes class, as a director he is rapidly emerging as a major force.

His first film, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, was a superb piece of work, while his second, Goodnight, and Good Luck is rapidly winning him friends in all sorts of circles.

The film has been chosen to close the 2005 London Film Festival and was among the big winners at this year’s Venice showpiece.

The film is based upon a screenplay by Clooney and Grant Heslov and stars David Strathairn in the true story of how Edward R Murrow and his producer, Fred Friendly (Clooney), helped bring an end to the House Un-American Activities Committee’ anti-Communist hearings.

Using his CBS News programme, See It Now as a platform, Murrow challenged McCarthy on his claims that hundreds of avowed Communists were working covertly as Soviet spies in the US government.

As a result, the weight of the McCarthy committee came down on him prompting Murrow to dig deep to maintain his integrity.

The film co-stars Robert Downey Jnr, Jeff Daniels and Patricia Clarkson and could well feature in some way at this year’s Oscars.

It opens in UK cinemas in 2006 and is sure to be among the year’s must-see flicks for the more discerning film buff.

US reaction

The film won widespread critical acclaim in America where it enjoyed one of the biggest openings ever for a Warner Independent Movie.

Leading the praise was Newsday, which wrote: “Strathairn’s Murrow is poised at the center of this quiet whirlwind and this ‘actor’s actor’ deftly weaves many aspects of the broadcaster’s mercurial personality within the movie’s tight time frame.”

While the New York Times stated: “George Clooney’s film about the CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow is a passionate, thoughtful essay on power, truth-telling and responsibility.”

And Ebert & Roeper opined: “I found it to be one of most intelligent and insightful movies ever made about the television news business and about the profoundly un-American practice of labeling dissenters as traitors.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer, meanwhile, asked: “Do you respect the corporate line or do you cross it? Clooney, who in his life wears the hats both of the entertainer and the ‘actorvist,’ gives us an intelligent, electric film that knows this question is as timely now as it was for Murrow.”

Positive, too, was the San Francisco Chronicle, which wrote: “Part drama and part civics lesson, Good Night, and Good Luck is an entertaining slice of American political and cultural history.”

And the Detroit News, which stated: “The sad conclusion of Good Night is that while we have made no more room for Murrows in this world, the potential for McCarthys lingers. In which case, good luck indeed.”

The final word, however, goes to Rolling Stone, which concluded: “In ninety-three tight, terrifically exciting minutes, Clooney makes integrity look mighty sexy.”