Point of Order (1964)

Point of Order is a 1964 documentary film about the Senate Army-McCarthy Hearings of 1954. The hearings centred on Army claims that McCarthy and staff had sought to gain military privileges for a friend, McCarthy countered that the Army and its lawyers were trying to smear him. The hearings were broadcast live on television in their entirety and also recorded via kinescope. Made without narration, the film was compiled from the kinescope recordings and reduced to 93 minutes out of 187 hours. You can watch the televised demise of McCarthy from 1 hr 15 mins in: Firstly attorney Joseph Welch launches a blistering attack on McCarthy for revealing how one of his staff had worked for a 'communist front' (breaking subjudicy rules in the process). When Welch finishes, the audience applaud. Then Senator Stuart Symington launches another assault that leaves McCarthy floundering as a mixture of applause and then adjournment drown out his protests that his men have been smeared. A fascinating moment when television turned politics into theatre.

Previous video Go back Next video