Monday, May 11, 2015

Network (1976)

Howard Beal (Peter Finch) was once a respected name in TV news. But a string of personal set backs and slipping ratings placed him at a crossroads. After being told he was being fired, he announced on the air that in one week he would kill himself. When he spoke honestly and profanely in his later apology, and the rating were through the roof, a power struggle started to keep his "mad profit of the airways" act running for as long as possible.

Network is an amazingly prescient movie. A cautionary tale that caused the news media to look up and say "what a great idea!" If writer Paddy Chayefsky thought the industry was becoming sensationalized, well, he hadn't seen anything yet. And he almost hadn't. He would die of cancer five years later.

Jimmy Stewart was considered for a role? I presume the William Holden part, but really? I can't imagine him trying to charmingly bumble through Holden's cutting and profane dialog. That would have been a movie-killer. Finch's performance earned him an oscar but he would die before the ceremony. The first posthumous award.

Iconic, witty, wonderfully acted (four acting oscar nominations, and three wins), and overall excellent filmmaking. Faye Dunaway was fantastic. This movie will stay with me for a long while. AMRU 4.
"Why is it that a woman always thinks that the most savage thing she can say to a man is to impugn his cocksmanship."

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