Made possible by the John H. Mitchell Television Programming Endowment

Admission is free. No advance reservations. Your seat will be assigned to you when you pick up your ticket at the box office. Seats are assigned on a first come, first served basis. The box office opens one hour before the event.

Director Geroge Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) illuminates the darkness of the Blacklist era and the emerging power of television via Edward R. Murrow’s primetime reporting challenging Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and his reckless persecution of so-called “communists and subversives.” Serving as a timely allegorical warning of civil liberties compromised in the name of the “war on terror” during the aughts and an elegy to the near-mythic integrity of Murrow’s 1950s newsroom, Clooney’s taut civics lesson honors and echoes the best of the Golden Age of Television.

Shot in black and white, the claustrophobic period piece Good Night, and Good Luck embodies the compactness and electricity of a vintage Playhouse 90 telecast. Set almost entirely in the cigarette smoke-filled New York headquarters of the CBS Television Network, Clooney embraces the small screen confines of his docudrama, centrally incorporating archival footage of McCarthy and kinescope excerpts from Murrow’s news program See It Now. Actor David Strathairn, uncanny in channeling Murrow’s trademark delivery and demeanor, jousts with McCarthy’s visage amid the ominous glow of studio monitors — anchoring the feature film in the real-life See It Now broadcasts that helped to alter the course of history as they flickered across American television screens in 1954.

Join us for the first of two special Small Screen/Big Screen presentations highlighting critically acclaimed motion pictures that examine pivotal moments in television history and the indelible original broadcasts that inspired the features. The evening will include a screening of the award-winning film Good Night, and Good Luck on 35mm followed by an original kinescope of Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now: “A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy” — complete with original commercials.

Program notes by Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Curator.

Good Night, and Good Luck

U.S., 2005

Named “Best Film” by the National Board of Review in 2005, Geroge Clooney’s impeccable period piece illuminates the dangers of the Blacklist era via CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow’s historic televised takedown of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in 1954. The taut drama, framed by archival footage, follows Murrow (a pitch-perfect David Strathairn) and his newsroom team as they harness the emerging power of television to tackle McCarthyism in the face of escalating intimidation.

35mm, b&w, 93 min. Director: George Clooney. Screenwriters: George Clooney, Grant Heslov. With: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Patrica Clarkson, Robert Downey Jr. Print courtesy of the DGA Motion Picture Industry Conservation Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

See It Now: “A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy”

U.S., 3/9/1954

With original commercials!

This historic broadcast, recorded for posterity on a crude kinescope filmed off of a studio television monitor, symbolically stands as one of the pivotal primary documents of the Blacklist era. Captured on grainy black and white film, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow eloquently confronts the immorality and unscrupulous tactics of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and his reckless campaign to uncover alleged communists and subversives without cause or due process.

DCP, b&w, 30 min. Production: CBS News. Producers: Edward R. Murrow, Fred W. Friendly. Reporter: Edward R. Murrow. Use by permission of CBS News. Special thanks to Rob Stone, Library of Congress.

Have Further Questions?

We're here to help. Chat with a librarian 24/7, schedule a research consultation or email us your quick questions.

Contact us
Contact us