Watched Sidney Lumet's 1976 Satire "Network"

“Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business!”
Peter Finch as Howard Beale

Tonight, I went to the Castro Theater to see Network, the first film in a Sidney Lumet double feature.  The other film was 12 Angry Men.  Network is number 64 on the AFI 100.

The film is a satirical film about a television station, owned by a bigger corporation, that is struggling to improve their ratings.  It starts with the firing of the news program’s anchorman, Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch).  Suffering from a melt down, Howard goes on air and claims he’s going to commit suicide on the program in a week.

The station’s programming director, Diana Christensen (played by Faye Dunaway), is obsessed with her work and cares only about ratings.  When she finds out about Howard’s episode and thinks about how much draw the news program gets, she wants control of it.  She wants to “develop” it.

Robert Duvall plays Frank Hackett, the corporation’s man in charge of the station.

Later on in the movie, Howard gives an impassioned speech about anger (“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”) that leads to his show becoming almost evangelical in nature.

A relationship between the news director Max Schumacher (played by William Holden) and Diana plays an interesting role in the movie. 

The acting in this film is top notch.  In fact, Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch both won Academy Awards for their performances. 

I purposely have tried not to spoil this movie for anyone that reads this.  This is a great film.  It says a lot about what television is and it’s hilarious.   Because they turn their news program into a freak show to improve ratings, I would say the story is more pertinent today than it was when it was made.

With “reality” television and Fox News so popular and prevalent today, the movie’s plot just jumped out at me as so relevant to our times.  It definitely hits closer to home than I would like.

If you haven’t seen this, check it out.  It’s awesome!

Related Item:
Network [Blu-ray]
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