Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » November 2005 » Busy, busy.....

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11/06/2005: Busy, busy.....

Been tending to myself this weekend. Went to see Good Night, and Good Luck yesterday. Had to go all the way out to freaking Cordova to do it (HINT: I don't do suburbia well), but at least it finally got around to playing in Memphis, unlike The Aristocrats, which is another one of the few movies on my "really want to see" list this summer/fall.

Anyway, one of my main motivations for seeing Good Night... was that David Strathairn played Edward R. Murrow. Strathairn has been one of my favorite obscure actors since he played Captain Fred Benteen (according to the IMDB he was wrongly credited as "Captain William F. Benteen"; the real Benteen was named Frederick William Benteen) in the ABC/Republic Pictures miniseries Son of the Morning Star, a dramatization of Evan S. Connell's masterful Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Big Horn. He didn't disappoint me in this one too. Basically, some of the history is suspect (Murrow wasn't a leading figure in bringing McCarthy down; more that he jumped on a bandwagon that was starting to pick up steam), but the photography (glorious black and white) was excellent, and some of the other performances were superb. I was impressed with the jobs done by Robert Downey, Jr. and Patricia Clarkson as Joe and Shirley Wershba (whose "secret" marriage in violation of CBS personnel policies was hardly a secret), George Clooney (who also directed) as Fred Friendly, Ray Wise as Don Hollenbeck, and Frank Langella as CBS head William Paley.

A masterstroke on Clooney's part was using archive footage of the real Senator McCarthy, rather than casting an actor for the part. Especially compelling: footage of the Army-McCarthy hearings, including Army counsel Joseph Welch's famous scolding of McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, Senator?" Seeing the guilty look on McCarthy's face as Welch scolds him is well worth the price of admission all by itself.

A favorite line: Sig Mickelson, a network head, is telling Morrow about network fears that Morrow's show will lose Alcoa as a sponsor if he proceeds with a broadcast he's planning:

Edward R. Murrow: We'll split the advertising, Fred and I. He just won't have any presents for his kids at Christmas.
Sig Mickelson: He's a Jew.
Edward R. Murrow: Well don't tell him that. He loves Christmas.
Meanwhile, I regret to say I'll probably be pretty quiet here for the next month or two. I've just been handed a huge project at work, which will be sucking away much of my free time. I should get a post or two in most days, but don't be too suprised; I've not fallen into a pit. And at least Karen should be around to amuse y'all most of the time. :-)

Len on 11.06.05 @ 09:11 PM CST

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