Movie Marketing Madness: Good Night, and Good Luck

Edward R. Murrow is the shining example whose image all journalists who have come after him aspire to. He was hard-working and dogged in his pursuit of a story. He was brave, famously broadcasting from London during the heaviest German bombing of World War II. Finally, he was a pioneer in television, having made the transition to there from radiio. His long-form broadcast program See It Now set the standard for investigative journalism and how the practice could be utilized for TV.

He was also the first – and one of the very few – who publicly stood up to Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy and his hunt for Communists in first the State Department and then Hollywood. This is the story Good Night, and Good Luck tells. How Murrow convinced CBS to grow a pair and call out McCarthy for the hate-filled witchhunt he was on more for his own publicity than because of any real Communist threat.

The Poster

Great poster that utilizes patriotism (note the striped design and stars behind star David Strathairn) while underplaying it (note the lack of blue amidst the red and white). The quote “We will not walk in fear one of another” is taken directly from Murrow’s broadcast on McCarthy, which is a nice touch. Other than that the cast list should be more than enough to get most people looking for a quality experience in the theater.

The Trailer

Full of tight cuts and lots of men engaged in passionate discussion, this trailer very quickly shows the movie will be for an intelligent audience. You have to be able to follow along or you won’t enjoy it. Strathairn does just enough of a Murrow impression to sell the character but not too much that pushes the performance into straight imitation. The movie that comes to mind watching this is Quiz Show, with its similar almost exclusively male cast and time setting. I actually get chills towards the end, that’s how effective it is. Amazing.

The Website

What a classy site. It opens with Straitharn as Murrow’s broadcast on a vintage TV, then launches the site accompianied by a smooth jazz soundtrack.

“Cast and Crew” contains the usual biographies, but with talented actors like this they’re worth a second look. Not only are the actors themselves covered but brief notes on the real men they play is also included. The series of images in the “Gallery” really let you appreciate the black-and-white photography used for the movie.

“About” digs into some aspects of the world the movie is set in. Info on McCarthy, the See It Now program and more can be found there. Also given a spotlight is something called Report It Now, a website setup by Participant Productions as a way for citizens to report on stories that may not be picked up by mainstream media due to their ever-increasing concern for the bottom-line and entertainment value of stories.

The trailer is under “Trailer” while “Multimedia” is where you can go for one of the two TV spots for the movie. Some wallpaper and a Report-It-Now chicklet for your own website are housed under “Downloads.” Finally, there’s a link to the Warner Independent Message Boards.

Overall

If the film is as intelligent as the campaign, with its whip-smart trailer, classy poster and very cool website than it could well be in line for an Oscar. I wonder, though, if the chances of such an award are diminished by the potential for people to see this movie as an indictment of the current White House administration, especially in light of the constant fear-mongering going on. Anyway, I think the campaign is a winner and I’m looking forward to the movie.

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