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Good Night, and Good Luck. A Review by Les

Posted by Eric Espig On 11:44

GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK - a movie about yesterday, with relevance for today.         

"Will that be an X-ray or a full body pat-down?"

After the expletives are deleted your thoughts may dwell on ideas such as: "The balance of national security with personal liberties is not right!" and "Am I the only one to think that the government is going too far?"
This month's movie (March 15) "Good Night and Good Luck" will take you back to the 1950s when conditions were not much different than today for many citizens of North America, a time when perceptions of external and internal threats lead to government intrusions into the private lives of its citizens and threats to civil liberties.

Shown in black and white, to reflect the technology of television news documentaries of the era, this movie reflects the "Red Scare" that seized North America. Indeed, the scare may well have started in Ottawa with the defection of Igor Gouzenko from the Soviet Embassy in September 1945.

As a volunteer interpreter at the Diefenbunker it is inappropriate of me to discuss religion or politics with visitors. However, as a Baby Boomer I feel obligated to remind visitors of the perceived threat of world domination by communism. The enemy was the former Soviet Union which had developed a network of spies and "fellow travelers" even before the Cold War started.

Although having no credentials as a movie critic I have no problem recommending this movie. I found myself feeling the fears and tensions of the era, even though I knew the outcome.  Certainly with no credentials as a historian, but with limited research as to the facts behind this movie, I believe that it correctly reflects the facts surrounding the events depicted.

The movie is not an attack on Senator McCarthy, the archival footage of his speeches that were used in the movie do a good job of that. The movie is not a biography of the life of the protagonist, television news pioneer Edward R. Murrow. It is a minor homage to him as a TV personality who spoke out against stifled debate. Yes, the movie reflects the norms of the era - smoking is taken as something that everyone does, discrimination based upon gender preferences is accepted, and a woman's role is usually subordinate to that of men.

Watching this movie in an underground bunker that still reflects the fears of the 1945 - 1989 era adds a unique dimension to reflecting upon the issues and dangers of the Cold War. Come out and judge for yourself.

At the end of the movie you may well ask yourself:  "How good a job do the media of today do in voicing public dissent against the government?" and  "What is the threat profile of today's public enemy?"

Guest Curator, Cold War Cinema