Emile de Antonio 1919-1989
Point of Order (1963)
Duration: 97 minutes

Director: Emile de Antonio

Roy M. Cohn ... Himself (archive footage)
Joseph McCarthy ... Himself (archive footage)
Joseph N. Welch ... Himself (archive footage)

Description: The first and still most important documentary about the McCarthy era of American politics, Point of Order! is a distillation of 188 hours of television coverage of the 1954 hearings during which Senator Joseph McCarthy, through his Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, accused the U.S. Army of harboring communists in its ranks. The Army countercharged that McCarthy and Roy M. Cohn, the committee's chief counsel, had threatened the Army as a means of obtaining special privileges for Cohn's friend and the committee's special investigator, David Schine, then serving as a private at Fort Dix. The focus is on McCarthy and Cohn behind the hearing room's massive staff tables, and Secretary of the Army Robert Stephens, Army counselor John G. Adams, and special counsel Joseph Welch behind the more modest witness table. McCarthy's fellow committee members become increasingly uneasy with his personal and reckless attacks on anyone who would question his motives, but it is the memorable exchange between McCarthy and Welch, concluding with the counsel admonishing the senator for having no sense of shame that proved to be the highlight of the proceedings. Because the hearings were on national television, it was a moment that also served to undermine McCarthy's support by the White House, his own party, and the American public. As strong as some of director Emile de Antonio's subsequent work was (In the Year of the Pig, Painters Painting), this is the film for which he will be remembered.

The second audio track is commentary, although it's probably better described as the recordings of several interviews with Emile de Antonio, underneath which they've mixed the film's original audio track. Also, there might be minor problems with the audio here. For some reason, every time a friend tried to rip the film, the primary audio track would end up getting desynchronized from the video. So I took the screwed up file, set a delay on the primary audio track, and then remuxed the AVI, but it's possible that it might still be slightly out of sync. If you have a problem with it and you think you can match the sound/video better than what I have here, then remux it yourself and upload the new AVI. Otherwise, this is it. (I'm probably overstating the problems here. I watched this myself, and didn't really have a problem with the release.)