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Movies: “Point of Order”

Jan. 13, 1964 - “Point of Order,” a documentary film by Emile de Antonio taken from the television coverage of the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings, opens today at the Beekman Theater, Second Avenue and 66th Street. The Army–McCarthy hearings came about when the Army accused Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisc.) of improperly pressuring the Army for special privileges for Private G. David Schine, formerly of McCarthy’s investigative staff. McCarthy counter-charged that the Army was holding Schine hostage to keep him from searching for Communists in the Army. The hearings were broadcast live on television in their entirety and also recorded via kinescope. This film was created from those kinescope recordings.

The film uses selections from the hearings to show the overall development of the trial, beginning with introductions from several main participants, such as Joseph N. Welch and McCarthy. Each participant is shown in a still image with a brief audio recording, except for McCarthy, who is introduced with longer footage of a speech he made during the hearings. De Antonio said that his two main decisions with regard to making the film were “only footage from the actual hearings would be used” and “no preaching.”


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