Good Night and Good Luck, George Clooney's stunning portrayal of journalist Ed Murrow banging heads with Senator Joseph McCarthy opens on Friday (we'll be reviewing it tomorrow - short version: give it all the damn Oscars) which is great timing as Murrow has just been given his own blue plaque. It is mentioned briefly in the movie that Murrow broadcast from London during the Blitz, but the more you read about this enigmatic figure the more you realise the impact he had on both American and British listeners:
You burned the city of London in our houses and we felt the flames.... You laid the dead of London at our doors and we knew that the dead were our dead...were mankind's dead without rhetoric, without dramatics, without more emotion than needed be...you have destroyed the superstition that what is done beyond 3,000 miles of water is not really done at all. - Archibald MacLeish
He opened each broadcast with the line This is London, before reporting back for the first time what it was actually like to be a reporter in a war zone as opposed to reading second hand information from a studio.
The plaque was unveiled at Weymouth House in Hallam Street by Richard Hottelet, one of the "Murrow boys", who trained under the broadcaster in London
He was a pioneer of on-the-spot reporting, and delivered one broadcast at the height of the Blitz from the roof of BBC Broadcasting House in central London as well as flying on 25 bombing raids over Europe.
It's no great surprise to find that he died of lung cancer as Good Night and Good Luck is filmed through an almost constant haze of cigarette smoke. We wonder what he'd have thought of the ban...