|Network (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 02/28/2006
Media madness reigns supreme in screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky's scathing satire about the uses and abuses of network television. But while Chayefsky's and director Sidney Lumet's take on television may seem quaint in the age of "reality TV" and Jerry Springer's talk-show fisticuffs, it's every bit as potent now as it was when the film was released in 1976. And because Chayefsky was one of the greatest of all dramatists, his Oscar-winning script about the ratings frenzy at the cost of cultural integrity is a showcase for powerhouse acting by Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway and Beatrice Straight (who each won Oscars), and Oscar nominee William Holden in one of his finest roles. Finch plays a veteran network anchorman who's been fired because of low ratings. His character's response is to announce he'll kill himself on live television two weeks hence. What follows, along with skyrocketing ratings, is the anchorman's descent into insanity, during which he fervently rages against the medium that made him a celebrity. Dunaway plays the frigid, ratings-obsessed producer who pursues success with cold-blooded zeal; Holden is the married executive who tries to thaw her out during his own seething midlife crisis. Through it all, Chayefsky (via Finch) urges the viewer to repeat the now-famous mantra "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" to reclaim our humanity from the medium that threatens to steal it away. --Jeff Shannon
- 'Network': An Extraordinary Dive Into The Hearts Of People That Are Hungry For Successful Ratings
"I'M AS MAD AS H*** AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!" Those are the words that forever changed the fate of newscasting and the face of movies. Those are the words that are recognized by everyone across the globe. Those are the words that made everyone mad and yell that sentence at the top of their lungs, all across America. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cooked up yet another golden motion picture triumph in 1976 with the release of "Network". The writings of Paddy Chayefsky in this film are also extraordinary and were Oscar-worthy. If this were a made-for-television production, I know very deep in my heart that this would have skyrocketed to a whopping 99 share because this movie is the truth. This movie is everything the American people need to hear and see with their own two eyes.
Faye Dunaway's commanding female performance as Diana Christensen, vice president in charge of the Programming Department of UBS, was crazy as it was good. William Holden as Max Schumacher, Howard Beale's best friend, is exciting. And then there's Peter Finch. What about Peter Finch? His perfectionate portrayal as Howard Beale (the richly deserved Mad Prophet of the Airwaves) was the most brilliant of all of the performances of the 20th century. Robert Duvall is just unbelievable as Frank Hackett. He really made me laugh sometimes and think in my head, "What in the heck is wrong with this guy?"
This movie would have been the richly deserved recepient of the 1976 Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year, had it not lost to Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky". It was much better. Everyone needs to see this film. It's worth it....more info
- Why this film is still relevant today
It must have been at least 20 years since this film was made and it is amazing that it is still relevant today. Director Sidney Lumet has lined up fantastic cast and found even better screenwriter that has made this movie to be one of the everlasting classics of the American cinema. Throughout the film we observe characters from the network television pushing their way around network for their personal gain. The rule of the game is "ratings" and those better be good or heads will roll. And if the american public is not watching news for its value, then what can enhance sagging ratings: scandal, popular demand or modern prophecies of the time? As news descend into entertainment value for the sake of the ratings, high level executives are too busy brokering deals: selling air time to marketing companies, terrorist groups, even communists; paying off high interest loans to foreign investors, firing anyone on their way of achieving goal of becoming financially successful. 20 years ago, Lumet told us, thru this film that rule of capitalism, democracy and american way is one way - make money. One must do whatever it takes to make that goal a reality. It is amazing how relevant this film still is today. Not much has changed at all....more info
- A classic CLassic that should have been a blockbuster today.
Of all the movies they make today with absolutley no plot but so many special effects, its no wonder people find this movie, despite its age, a masterpiece.
The story line is covered pretty well, a long term news broadcaster whose ratings are so low decideds to kill himself on tv. He is mentally unstable but his ratings become great so then they decide to keep him on. He rants and raves every night on the news..however he doesn't seem so mad as they might have thought. He tells everything like it is, and isn't afraid to say what people don't want to hear but know in their heart. People listen to him, they are sick of it and he is the only one with guts enough (or whom the networks will let) say it in public. He talks about coruption, he talks about greed, he encourages people to stand up for themselves and tell the big corperations and government to listen to them. That is until his network gets bought out by a forein company and he encourages the people to stop watching tv. The people do, they are mad about the big corperations controlling the media, and his ratings drop. But not only his..all the ratings do, and the company is getting lots of negative preassure because of the buyout. Well, its to long to give the whole outline so I'll stop there but this movie is funny, serious, and full of twists.
Yes you have to deal with the cheesy 70's hair styles, color and effects, but this is a thinking mans movie so they really is only a speck of dust int he big picture.
This movie was very moving, and as I had read no reviews the end was a suprise, as were many things that I didn't expect to happen. Whats more is this movie is almost believeable in todays age.
This movie is deffenitly a must in my opinion for anyone to watch....more info
- Must see
I have nothing new to add to the great reviews except to those who complain about the audio/visual issues. Those points are valid, but in the case of this movie, I think content trumps asthetics....more info
- Another Chayefsky classic!
Another great one from the pen of the inimitable Paddy. Comparable to "The Hospital" in its dialogue. A true master of the spoken word. Chayefsky actually demands something from his audience. Duval is particulary good - "intractable and adamantine." Man oh man, the guy can deliver a line. Uniformly superb with brilliant performances all round. Check out the rightfully aggrieved wife of Holden, Beatrice Straight: I defy anyone to find a performance in the last thirty years that's comparable to her small bit. This is dialogue with the power of a .300 H&H Magnum. A classic pure and simple; in fact, Ruthian....more info
- Great satire
Film director Sidney Lumet is, with the possible exception of Robert Wise, the most underrated director in Hollywood history. When one looks at the list of great films in Lumet's career: 12 Angry Men, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Fail-Safe, Serpico, Murder On The Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, and a handful of others, one marvels, not only at what he accomplished, but that he's spent a quarter-century having churned out nothing but mediocrity since 1982's The Verdict. Yet, of all the films in his canon, perhaps the best, and certainly the most complex, was 1976's Network- the greatest black comedy this side of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb. It was to corporate America what Strangelove was to the military industrial complex.
Written by the nonpareil Paddy Chayefsky, Network is not only a prescient film, but still a cogent one, as remarkable as that claim seems. Whereas many films from the years in between its release and now have dated badly, the same cannot be said of Network. Like other visionary films, from Metropolis to The Trial, Network not only crafted a world unto itself, but a world that, in large part, has seen its day realize. Yes, there are no PC's on the desks of the network stooges, but other than that, the depiction of corporate America's deadly vapidity, its whoring of life and death and war and suffering into mere commodities, has all come true. Reality tv has shown that the only thing that Chayefsky's and Lumet's film has not yet seen come true is the assassination on live television that closes the film. This oddly vatic quality raises the question of whether the film can even rightly be called a satire. Perhaps a prophecy is closer to the mark, especially in how the fictive fourth network, UBS (Union Broadcasting Systems), so closely resembles the real current fourth network, then a decade from its creation, FOX.
The tale is one that seems not so outlandish any longer- Howard Beale (Peter Finch), widowed, depressed, and alcoholic network news anchorman for the UBS Evening News, has learnt that he will be fired due to low ratings. Beale's producer and friend, Max Schumacher (William Holden) informs him of this, and this seems to be the final straw for Beale, who glibly announces his impending retirement, and that he will also suicide on next week's show. Few techs in the studio are even paying attention until one of them who was freaks out. Network bigwigs freak out, yet there is never a sense of real overacting- save, perhaps for Finch's role. This is why the film is so devastating, for Chayefsky and Lumet were intimately involved with network politics from the earliest days of television, and drew from their decades of experience to couch craziness in acceptability.... If Network is not a great film it is certainly, as Lumet mantras in his commentary, a prescient one. It is also proof that, despite what naysayers and masturbatory French cineastes might think, film is a writer's medium, first and foremost, not a visual one, for Network shows that greatness is possible sans special effects and virtually no music- the film is void of a formal score. This lack, however, only heightens the realistic acidity of Chayefsky's brilliant and funny words, which transcend satire and enter reportage, at times. Just watch the scene where Schumacher finally leaves Christensen, and ask yourself how much more powerful is that scene without a swelling musical crescendo, not to mention Chayefsky's having Holden narrate his own exit, stage right? Go ahead, try to name me a film that reaches greatness in the other direction- with just special effects and music, and no screenplay of merit. Lo!
I recommend especially anyone under the age of thirty-five to watch this film, and they will see just how predictable the current lowest common denominator state of affairs, domestically and abroad, in the media and in day to day affairs, was, even decades in coming. This is because the core of a society's problems never lie with its leaders nor its media, but with its citizens. This has played out not only internationally, with the rise of terrorism, but domestically, with the mute acceptance of corruption and civil rights infringements by the scared masses, as well as a refusal by the general electorate to refuse to vote for crooks and bums for elective office. Thus, the fictive raving idiots that shouted their madness, along with Howard Beale, back then are now railing in reality, on cable tv and in the blogosphere, now. And still no one is worried, and there's no Chayefsky around to skewer the idiocy. Network exemplified what made the 1970s the last great era in American film- great writing, acting, and a deeper sense of what the art could do. Let's hope that last era is not the final one, as well.
- God bless fans of Network--there's hope for mankind yet
Perhaps an acquired taste, this prickly satire probes the touchy subjects of moral relativism and the creeping deterioration of the American soul-- represented aptly by the modern cultural bellwether, television media-- with a sophisticated, jaded wit not seen in any film before or since. Taking equal swipes at narcissism, feminism, capitalism, commercialism, political radicalism and desperate idolatry in the context of mankind's cruel exploitation of itself, the quality of the script elevates screenplay nearly to the level of literature. The many rhetorical diatribes, which some may find heavy-handed, are delivered almost as soliloquies, entertaining (and often parodic) as dramatic device, yet each containing biting truths. Lumet's direction is tight, and Holden, Finch, Duvall, Dunaway and Ned Beatty (yes, Ned) all are in top form. More poignantly human than Broadcast News, as trenchant as A Face in the Crowd, as iconoclastic as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and funnier and more evenly paced than writer Chayefsky's previous Oscar effort, The Hospital, Network isn't just for misanthropes and malcontents-- anyone with a wry sense of humor and a keen concern for the fate of Western civilization is free to enjoy....more info
- Tongue-In-Cheek, Excellent Satire! Too Bad About the DVD!
This movie is an all-time classic because it retains its ability to entertain and to move its audience over the years. It's been 30 years but this film ages very well as its theme of amorality, exploitation and dehumanising of people for the sake of selfish motives and the almighty dollar is still relevant today e.g. subprime, credit crisis etc. Add that to brilliant acting by Finch in his best ever performance in a role that seems to have been written just for him as well as by Dunaway who is excellent in her role. This powerful movie is one of my all-time favourites.
Unfortunately, this dvd version is very poor as the picture quality has many imperfections such as white spots having not been restored and barely rises above VHS quality. The sound quality is also poor having not been remastered. My advice is to give this version a miss and to wait for a well restored and remastered version with at least Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound options as well as good Special Features to surface either in the standard or in the new Blu-ray formats. Surely a classic like this deserves a lot better than this poor quality dvd version....more info
- Prophet of the Airwaves
A must see picture that works on every level - it is superbly written, acted and directed. In spite of the industry it condemns, it IS entertaining in a way that occasionally raises the hairs on your neck.
"We're all you know! You're beginning to beleive the illusions we're spinning here.
You're beginning to think the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You DO whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube.. you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs!
In God's name, you people are the real thing! WE are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence I'm speaking to you now! Turn them off!"
But before you do, watch this movie. It can have the effect of confirming what you know about TV already - that it influences everyone deeply and no one seems to notice.
Great flick. Entertaining and enlightening....more info
- A true classic -- must see
For any of you who have never seen this movie, and you want to see a movie with an unusual story, this is a good one. It is timeless in expressing how fed up people can get with things around them, and whether they can make a splash in this world as they travel through...
I saw this movie 30 years ago but never forgot it. It was definitely worth rewatching. It amazes me how movies like this get overlooked in the television channel reruns.......more info
Not only is this a great dvd, but the delivery was prompt and the dvd was in new condition. I am very happy with this product. I will surely order from this seller again....more info
- impressive and accurate
outstanding movie. i'm surprised it took me so long to hear about it, but i'm glad i did. an excellent satire on current events to this day with an impressive and accurate script that reflects exactly what's going on in big capitalist america....more info
- Still Pertains to this Day!
Awesome picture which rings true to this very day! The message this movie sends is a relevant reflection of our Ameriacn society even unto the present....more info
- I just wanted to offset the bad review
The reviewer who gave this one star was basing this on technical difficulties. This is one of the best movies ever made. It was chillingly ahead of its time in predicting the scourge of corporate media. A post-Watergate classic....more info
- Darkly Hilarious and Entertaining. One of the Best.
"Network" came out in 1976 and became one of the most acclaimed films of all time. It took every Oscar in the acting category (except Best Supporting Actor which went to Jason Robards for "All the President's Men" when the Academy actually gave Oscars to people who had won before), Best Original Screenplay, and holds slot #66 on The American Film Institute's Top 100. I went into watching this movie with no knowledge of what it's about, I just saw it on AFI's list and I saw it at a video store and figured...Why not? This is truly a spectacular film...It's not only an important film (which is why AFI usually has movies in their top 100) but it's also an entertaining movie. This movie has everything a person could want in a movie; great acting, memorable characters, brilliant and witty dialogue, and great directing by one of the best directors of all time Sidney Lumet. That's actually heresay, I've only seen 3 of his movies...So I guess I can't really say that. The movie is basically a message movie wrapped in dark comedy and it works. This movie really has intelligent humor and I actually laughed a few times. But, don't get me wrong. It's not hilarious, it's just...Funny. Anyway, Peter Finch won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of Howard Beale; A newscaster who's ratings are way down leaving Howard in a slump. Then one night, Howard announces live that he will be retiring from the newstation and will commit suicide live in a week. Almost no one notices this immediately but, when it's pointed it, it becomes a sensation. The ratings have a huge jump, so they put him back on the air for the news at which point he rants and raves about "bulls**t." This brings ratings way up and Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway, in her Oscar winning role), the new channel exec, decides to give him his own show. Of course, there's also subplots...Howard's best friend and one of the main guys at the studio Max Schumacher (William Holden, who's performance is Oscar worthy) begins having an affair with Diana. There's a sex scene, but it's actually (and I usually don't care. I liked Basic Instinct 2. OK?) in good taste and is very funny how it plays out. At the same time, Diana tries to get a show involving real tapes of radicals committing crimes. It's all pretty interesting stuff. The movie kind of analyzes the hypocrisy of television (and people) and even though this film is 30 years old...It's as relevant today as it was then. This movie could've been made this year. Robert Duvall co-stars as Frank Hackett, the head of the newschannel. All the performances are incredible and the story is very original. The dialogue is so good...I mean, it's not Quentin Tarantino-good; but in it's own subtle way it's perfect. "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" is the line this film is most noticed for. Anyway, this is a movie that deserves attention and deserves a slot on AFI's list. If you like intelligent movies that are entertaining and have a good message..."Network" is perfect.
- Network DVD
The DVD was perfect, but the space that holds the DVD was broken. It didn't scratch it, but I can't put the disc back in the thing. A +++++ on the amount of time it took to get to me!...more info
- Well, It IS Memorable!
Who didn't like this movie when it came out in the mid '70s? It was the number one topic of conversation at work for awhile and Peter Finch's "I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!" became one of the more famous lines in film history.
I saw it a number of times back then and found it fascinating. The more I watched, the more I enjoyed Finch's "Howard Beale" and Ned Beatty's speech to him about "the facts of life (business-wise)." What a great speech! Much of what he said still rings true.
Years later, now that I've changed, this film now is not so appealing. The abuse of the Lord's name in vain is extreme in here, the chief offenders being William Holden and Robert Duvall. This winds up to be a bunch of Left Wing radicals doing their thing. On my last viewing, it made me "mad as hell" and not wanting to watch this again. However, I admit there scenes in here that I will never forget!
- Prophetic Chayefsky-Lumet Masterwork Accurately Foresees the Profit-Motivated Madness of Television
With the primacy of reality programming on current primetime TV schedules and the fight for ratings even more virulent with the dismantling of the networks, the vitriol and perceptiveness of Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay for this searing satire resonates today more than ever. What gives the prophetic movie its power is how the story never veers that far from the truth, even in 1976 when the film was originally released. In fact, what may have seemed excessive back then has mostly come true, and that's the beauty of reintroducing this modern classic in a bountiful two-disc DVD package in 2006.
Set in the fictitious offices of the ratings cellar-dwelling UBS network, the multi-layered story initially focuses on Howard Beale, the aging anchorman of the evening news. About to be fired and in a state of dementia, he announces on the air that he is going to commit suicide. Veteran UBS news director Max Schumacher, Beale's longtime friend and colleague, is called in to convince Beale to retract his statement. Instead, Beale goes on a rampage about the nauseating decline of American society. Ratings skyrocket, and up-and-coming programming executive Diana Christensen wants to take control of Beale's show and turn it into an outrageous infotainment show with Beale as the "Mad Prophet of the Airwaves". Schumacher and Christensen are at odds professionally but not before entering into a torrid affair which has him leaving his patient wife. The novelty of both the program and the affair, however, eventually wears off, and ratings plummet leading to drastic measures that the network decides to take.
Director Sidney Lumet certainly knows how to tell a virulent story that teeters precariously between reality and satire and uses Lee Richardson's appropriately stentorian voiceover as the perfect chorus. Lumet also gets superb performances out of a powerful ensemble starting with Peter Finch who captures the visceral rage and psychological decline of Beale in accurate detail. It's a showy role with little introspection shared about his elliptical character, but he makes it work for the viewer. In what turned out to be the best of his late career performances, William Holden guides the only moral conscience the network seems to have, even as he gives into the temptations of a younger woman who only lives for and through television.
Ideally cast, Faye Dunaway uses her cool, collected beauty to great advantage here. What's more, with barely a hint of humanity, she pierces with the sheer venom of Christensen's unapologetically Machiavellian strategies. She has a willing partner in Frank Hackett, the ratings-hungry head of UBS, played with malevolently energetic force by Robert Duvall. In smaller roles that amount to vividly etched cameos, Ned Beatty brings out Shakepearean-level bluster as corporate bigwig Arthur Jensen preaching to Beale on the power of the almighty buck; Marlene Warfield is all anger and commercial savvy as the Angela Davis doppelganger revolutionary Laureen Hobbs; and Beatrice Straight is superb as Schumacher's betrayed wife moving from fury to resignation with aching desperation. Even though the film has the visual look of a television show, it is a true masterwork driven by Chayefsky's brilliant script.
The DVD package contains Lumet's expert commentary on the first disc. The second disc has an 85-minute, six-chapter documentary produced specifically for the DVD, "The Making of Network", which includes participation from among others, Lumet, Dunaway, Beatty, producer Howard Gottfried and Walter Cronkite's daughter Kathy (who had a bit part as a Patty Hearst-like character in the movie). Produced by Laurent Bouzereau, who did similar duties on the recently released DVD of David Lean's "Ryan's Daughter", it is chockfull of interesting information about the production and a fascinating historical perspective by Cronkite himself.
In addition, there is an odd curio, an appearance by Chayefsky on Dinah Shore's daytime talk show when the film was released. He lends intriguing insight into his screenplay, his perspective on television and what he feels the movie is all about, even though Shore and guest Steve Lawrence are intrusively banal with their interjectory comments (Shore's other guest Anne Bancroft has the good sense to keep her mouth shut when Chayefsky talks). The last piece is a career retrospective interview with Lumet on Robert Osborne's "Private Screenings" series on Turner Movie Classics. While Lumet's filmmaking career is impressive, Osborne's rather celebratory questioning really doesn't lend much insight beyond a recital of Lumet's laudatory accomplishments....more info
- Biting Chayefsky satire
Accomplished director Sidney Lumet directs a insightful and prophetic satire from the expansive mind of Paddy Chayefsky critiquing the business of network television production.
CCA corporation frontman Frank Hackett played by Robert Duvall has taken over UBS network with the idea of finally turning it +
into a profitable situation. Lagging in ratings behind the big three, Duvall focuses on the news division headed by Max Schumacher played by the aged but excellent William Holden. Duvall's plan calls for the firing of long time news anchor Howard Beale played superbly in Oscar winning fashion by Peter Finch.
A disconsolate Finch announces on air that in one weeks time, he will blow his head off during his newscast. His ratings take an immediate bump which comes to the attention of intensely obsessed TV generation programing vice president Diana Christiansen played by Faye Dunaway. Dunaway encourages Holden to keep Finch on the air, against his better judgement but the ratings hike eventually flattens out.
As Finch's time in gradually coming to an end, he has a bedroom epiphany which inspires him to come on the air after walking the rainy streets in his pajamas. In a heartfelt spew with wild gesticulations he calls for those watching who are frustrated with their existence, to open their windows and yell that they 're mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. His rant strikes home and before long he is a media darling with the number one rated show. This opens the door for Dunaway to fill her programing schedule with wild and revolutionary shows which threaten to drive UBS to the top of the network heap.
As profits soar, corporate head Arthur Jensen played by supremely talented Ned Beatty is pleased. However Finch goes too far with his angry prophet routine speaking out against corporate business practices. He receives an angry rebuke in a brilliant soliloquy by Beatty, who decides that due to a ratings drop that Finch must be silenced.
A combination of Lumet's top notch direction, a cleverly scripted screenplay and a series of superior acting performances make "Network" an all time cinematic classic....more info
- More relevant than ever
The movie is a prophetic masterpiece. Look around you. Here we are at the height of the information age. Innudated with pseudo reality shows. Biased media spin doctors creating political super-stars and even getting a unqualified junior senator elected President of the US. Might as well been written by Chayesky himself.
As mentioned in an earlier review the digital transfer leads much to be desired. But the films message is so important, even now 30 years later, that you should buy it anyway. ...more info
- You don't find movies like this anymore
A great movie created in the 1970s which is probably more applicable today than when it was actually produced. I not only recommend it as a must watch but also as a must own. Watch the movie and come to grips with the fact that TV is not good for you and that you would be better off trying something most people dont do - read (or workout or play an instrument or spend time with loved ones, etc)....more info
- Network (1976)
Director: Sidney Lumet
Cast: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, Arthur Burghardt, Bill Borrows, John Carpenter, Marlene Warfield, Beatrice Straight.
Running Time: 121 minutes
Rated R for language and sexual innuendo.
'Network' is Paddy Chafesky's riveting and grim tale of the sleaze surrounding the American television industry. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, "Network" is without a doubt one of the most powerful, influential and meaningful satires ever made. One of the reasons "Network" was so well received by both film critics and movie-going audiences was because it possessed a certain quality that most films unfortunately lack -- intricate and involving characters in realistic situations. The film follows a low-rated television network trying to keep its head above water. The network, UBS, has decided to fire an aging veteran news anchor, Howard Beale (Peter Finch), in an act of desperation to boost ratings. Beale is given a two-week notice, and instead of going out with his tale between his legs, Beale announces on live television he was fired and is going to kill himself. This raises panic and chaos at UBS, until they get the memo that Beale's crazed rant just bumped the ratings significantly. The UBS execs, Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) and Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) decide to give Beale his own show where he complains and screams bout the problems with the world, while Beale's best friend (William Holden) feels it's inappropriate for the network to take advantage of a mentally-ill man. Besides exploiting a mentally unstable man, the company execs also work out a weekly program with a anti-establishment African-American communist, Laureen Hobbs (Marlene Warfield) following political terrorists and their violent outbursts. The film also stars Beatrice Straight as Schumacher's boring wife, Conchetta Ferrell was an assistant working for the network and Ned Beatty who plays the sinister boss of the UBS television network who always gets what he wants.
"Network" boasts one of the finest and most intricate screenplays ever written that rightfully earned Paddy Chafesky the Oscar for Best Screenplay. Sidney Lumet's directing is absolutely incendiary and the movie has an incredibly strong cast. Faye Dunaway gives what is perhaps her very best screen performance as the cutthroat Network executive, while Robert Duvall is just as brilliant as the ruthless Frank Hackett (which should have earned him an Oscar nomination, period!) Beatrice Straight is solid in her role (not quite Oscar-worthy if you ask me, though) and Marlene Warfield is just as great. The two performers who really steal the show however are William Holden and Peter Finch. Both nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards in 1977, Peter Finch gives a startling and powerful performance as the 'mad-as-hell' (not to mention crazy-as-hell) Howard Beale, while William Holden gives a subtle but none-the-less outstanding performance as the conflicted Max Schumacher. It's hard to say who was better, but if I absolutely had to decide I'd choose Holden's non-Oscar-winning performance slightly over Finch's sympathy Oscar-winning performance (he still was extraordinary, though). I honestly believe if Finch hadn't died just after the film, Holden would have taken home the Oscar gold for Best Leading Actor, both were still magnificent. The only player in the cast that I felt wasn't that great was Ned Beatty. In a role far deserving from an Oscar nomination (which he for some odd reason received), Beatty plays the angry little man role he always does. Besides Beatty's lackluster performance and marginal pacing problems towards the middle (you are going to get that in any 70s film that isn't a Kubrick film), the movie is utterly entertainment perfection....more info
- More Relevant Today Than When It Was Released.
The movie Zeitgeist showed excerpts from Network - this brought back memories of seeing the movie when my hormones were more important than my Weltanschauung. They will not make mainstream movies like this today as it lifts the lid on the machine. Today all corporations are intertwined if you've noticed how the elite are bailing each other out so they can maintain the 'system' it's also bad for business to show this, hell, someone might notice what's going on.
Perhaps this movie will be banned once the Nazis are in power which may be sooner than you think. It' something to show your children....more info
- Television should be able to kill without bulletts
It could have been a great film. It had all it needed to be a masterpiece. It debunked the old traditional boring television of our great grand parents, that television that was speaking all the time in order to bring us the truth, to teach us the true truth, to make us believe every word they said was absolutely inspiring and we had to be thankful and grateful for this new medium to be so effective in teaching us, in lifting us out of our ignorance. They treated television as a super book, an encyclopedia and they had not understood the slightest smallest element of what this medium was. They had not read Marshall McLuhan and when they had heard of him they thought he was trite, insignificant and purely ranting and raving. And they were going to learn the power of this medium the hard way. One day, by accident, due to the neurotic caprice of one of the team, they discover the tremendous power it has on the imagination and on the behavior of people. People believed the antic as if it were true, absolutely true because it was live and unexpected, hence true since un-programmed. And the newer generation ran into the opening and they invented that television that immerse you into live reality through purely virtual and fake images, even when they are really live, because the camera is a processor, an intermediary eye that gives you what they want you to see and the objective is to make you feel happy, serene, or even angry but with the serenity of the certitude that you are not alone and that everyone is as angry as you are, and that you cannot stand reality any more and that this is absolutely justified since millions of people are feeling the same way as you at the very same moment. Television is not supposed to make you think but only to make you feel part of a vaster reality, of a large vital movement. And that's where the film becomes bad because it seems to follow the idea the older generation is airing at the younger one that this television is shutting everyone onto themselves, separating them from all others, individualizing them into absolute isolation. False, false, false again and again. This new television is soaking you individually into the images of the reality the way this TV wants you to see it, but that is only part of the business. You accept this experience of being dipped and at times thrown or drowned into the boiling maelstrom of violence, war, crime, horror, etc, because you know you are not alone, because it gives you the sense of belonging to a vast mass of people and the possibility to share that common experience with them all tomorrow morning without even having to tell about it. One word will be enough to bring that never directly experienced community back to the subconscious mind of the millions of people who have watched the same show. News is not about truth or about teaching. News is show business, news is emotional and even psycho-dramatic sensations, an experience in surrogate horror, both liberating (cathartic the older ones would have said) and enslaving the proud isolated individual you do feel you are becoming with all that television to the crowd of viewers. And all that is of a commercial nature. The ratings are supposed to bring in advertising and money and when the sensation that started it all does not work anymore because the man, the guru, the anchorman, the preacher does not understand that he cannot start telling people they are living in a dictatorship, even and especially if it is true, you have to get rid of him. The end is quite simple-minded: kill him with guns and bullets. Television can kill someone in so many other ways that are symbolical, mediatic, bloodless but just as effective, efficacious and even cruelly efficient. And the producer of the film knew from scratch all that truth indeed since this producer, Ted Turner, had been refused by the CBS and was in the process of creating the CNN, the acme of reality news and reality television only dealing with the real world and bringing the millions of people of its globalized audience a predigested vision that was only targeting at homogenizing the mediatic mind-formatting experience and consciousness of the world. Virtual reality is the true reality, and that is the very power of this medium that we cannot deny nor reduce to something else, even if teaching real ideas and arguments. Television is an all-sensorial experience building device for individuals who want to belong to a consensual mass.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
- Still holds up after all these years...
I saw "Network" the other night for the first time since I was in a theater audience at the time of its original release. I was very pleased that it gave me a couple of hours of fine entertainment. I had forgotten just enough to make it seem fresh again. Sadly, one thing you learn from the movie after what, 30 years, is that network television isn't any more moral than it used to be: "Network" focuses on a blurring of the lines between "news" and "entertainment" and on the creation of "reality" shows. Alas, all that has come to pass. Thank goodness for the proliferation of cable channels, where one can choose documentaries, history, politics, classic films, and even horse racing instead of O'Reilly and Hannity and "Survivor" and the like. In this film, William Holden was the voice of morality and dignity, Faye Dunaway was hot but obsessed with her job, Peter Finch was enjoying being a star, pretending to take himself seriously, and Beatrice Straight demonstrated that a woman could win a supporting actress Oscar with only five minutes on screen if she and the writing were good enough....more info
- Ahead of it's time
I recently saw "Goodnight and Good Luck" and this movie was an excellent companion to that. Both films portray the news media exactly how it is today. When the news is owned by corporations and not the people, you cannot possibly expect to get anything real out of it. The news died the day Fox News came on the air with all it's flashing graphics all over the place and people like Bill O'Reilly who make a living out of lying to people. And even worse, that's the most watched cable "news" channel. This movie gets it right. What's on TV is all an illusion and they'll tell you anything you want to hear because the American people are so uneducated that they don't realize what is and isn't reality. The media has one purpose and one purpose only and that is to make money. Not to tell the truth. If they can make more money telling lies, guess what? That's what they're going to do and that is what they do every single day....more info
- You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it!
Show a remarkable prescience for a 1976 movie, Paddy Chayefsky's brutal satire of the television nation in the not so distant future still stings the eyes. Faye Dunaway's cutthroat executive was talking reality TV almost a quarter century before Survivor's First Season and Peter Finch's satirical Howard Beale was the sociopathic nutjob who would eventually turn up as "journalists" like Michael Savage or Billo The Clown. "Network" was one of the first movies to win multiple Academy Awards for its actors (Finch, Dunaway and Beatrice Straight, supporting actress as William Holden's long suffering wife) plus Chayefsky's screenplay.
Some 30 years later and the points "Network" makes still drill home. The fact that you could still make this movie today and have it be just as ruthlessly efficient speaks of its brilliance. After all, what makes "The Mao-Tse Tung Hour" all that different than a season of Jack Bauer and 24on Fox? (Even more to the point, "Network" was made when the idea of a 4'th Network other than ABC, NBC or CBS was considered ludicrous.) When Dunaway berates a news executive over his "sanctity of the news department," she pile drivers him thusly:
"I watched your 6 o'clock news today; it's straight tabloid. You had a minute and a half of that lady riding a bike naked in Central Park; on the other hand, you had less than a minute of hard national and international news. It was all sex, scandal, brutal crime, sports, children with incurable diseases, and lost puppies. So, I don't think I'll listen to any protestations of high standards of journalism when you're right down on the streets soliciting audiences like the rest of us."
Does her take on the future sound eerily like 2008? The fact is, we have long since moved to the point where the journalist is the story and the certifiable Howard Beale is golden, at least until his instability threatens his advertising stream. While that leads to the no-longer far-fetched conclusion, it also give Ned Beatty a hilariously over the top moment that briefly steals the movie. Beatty's nominated role as Head Honcho Arthur Jensen seems like Ted Turner before he became a broadcast mogul...there are so many predictions in "Network" that it seems like it came backwards in time.
Movies influenced by "Network": Wag the Dog, All the President's Men, The Running Man....more info
- Make Love, Not Work
NETWORK took a giant leap in an interesting, necessary direction by illustrating flaws foreseen by Edward R. Murrow on the corruptibility of the interaction of our government, our press, and our corporations. The film permits us to focus on individual personalities who are usually cloaked in the twilight zone of an edutainment corporation as they sink to new (lower) common denominators in their careers and private lives.
I believe THE INSIDER and STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP have addressed many of these challenging concerns far more effectively, but NETWORK was checking these doors long before RealiTV was released on its own loonytunes recognizance.
This film is certainly worthy of a closer look. The extras are diverting yet equivocal, but that's because the problems addressed were less recognizable (low-resolution) then than they are now. NETWORK predicted a disturbing quality of reportage that continues to devolve, corporate control of impartial voices of reflection, and the ultimate victory of the 100% cardboard television executive whose critical "judgment" is an oxymoron in all senses of the word "critical".
In NETWORK, love is never having to be reasonable nor responsible, just accountable, vulnerable and disposable. Faye devours Kong in this one. Take a look....more info
- Virtual reality and corporate cosmology
I saw "Network" when it was released in 1977. I'd just graduated from college and was still pretty wet behind the ears. Now, with thirty years' worth of experience in the world, I've watched the film again, and am stunned by how prescient it is. Screenplay author Paddy Chayefsky nailed it on both counts when he suggested that the world of television addicts us to artifice, and that money, not nationhood, is the new basic international unit. Incredible that he could've predicted all this a full generation ago.
As a culture brought up on television and films, we're more comfortable with virtual reality than with reality. We want TV shows with formulaic plots (parodied in "Network" by a hilarious meeting of producers in which every pitch for a new show has a similar "crusty but benign" character). We want titillation, outrageousness, and splendor more than truth (think about today's talk shows). And even when given a dose of reality on the screen (today's misnamed "reality shows" come immediately to mind), we want it directed, choreographed, and offered in a convenient timeslot. This is precisely the kind of entertainment that poor Howard Beale (brilliantly played by Peter Finch) offers, and that the network predators want to cash in on. Bread and circuses: that's what the people want, that's what the network gives 'em.
Corporate chief Arthur Jensen's (played equally brilliantly by Ned Beatty) "corporate cosmology" soliloquy toward the end of the movie perfectly captures the dark side of globalization, the film's second major theme. "The world is a business!" thunders Jensen. The only important international players are the huge multinationals, not national governments. The entire social structure of the planet has shifted, propelling us into an entirely new world. And the media, increasingly bought up by the multinationals, become more homogeneous in their programming, news becomes infomercial, and corporate cosmology becomes a reality.
It's as if Chayefsky wrote "Network" while gazing at a crystal ball.
The film's not perfect. Chayefsky crams too much into the plot and so their are some loose ends (the death of Edward George Ruddy, for example, seems comes across as rather contrived), and Faye Dunaway tends to overact (although she won an Academy Award for her performance). But all in all, "Network" truly is one of the greatest American films ever made....more info
- "i'm as mad as hell and i'm not going to take this anymore!"
Network tells the story of Howard Beale, an aclaimed TV anchor who recives notice he will be fired in two weeks due to poor ratings, leading him to anounce he will commit suicide in one week. when this is announced, the media goes into a frenzy and suddenly the ratings are through the roof and Howard Beale becomes a cultural obbsession. Network does what it does best, completly poke fun at the news buisness and never deviates from it. all the performences are supurb, the two standouts being Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway. Peter Finch as Howard Beale is full of energy and when he does those onscreen rantes he is at top form. Dunaway perfectly embodies the extremly cold-hearted media head Diana Christensen. there are also small gems to be found in the film, most notably Beatrice Straight as the neglected wife of news program head Max Shumacher. though she's on screen for little under six minutes, her performance just sticks with you through out the film. respectivly, all three of these actos took home an oscar that year (the first since A Streetcar Named Desire). it has also become a classic and is apart of AFI's top 100 movies. so if you truley want to see a great film with great acting, this is the one for you. it may even have you sticking out your head through the window and yelling "i'm as mad as hell and i'm not going to take this anymore!"...more info
I movie that is about the corrupt media system. How the control of information is censored by the elite. Great movie, sad yet it makes you laugh!...more info
- One of the best movies EVER made...EVER
Network is a classic movie about television and ratings and how the news media stopped producing news and only tv ratings.
Howard Beale is a TV anchor for UBS and has been a staple of the network for years. But when his ratings started dropping, and his wife passing away, Beale becomes more of a distant person.
He's fired for low ratings and his best friend, Max Schumacher notifies him that he has 2 weeks left. They go drinking and at the bar, Howard tells Max that he's going to kill himself on TV...Max responds that if that happened, there would be a 50 share rating.
So the next day, Howard comes out on the air and tells everyone that he will be retiring in 2 weeks because of low ratings and plans on killing himself because he no longer has anything to live for (wife died and no more tv anchor job) and tells the audience to tune in next week.
This causes a complete mess in the executive offices and phone calls start rolling in, ratings immediately jump and the story is covered on the front page of the New York Times. Real news or sensationalism?
Beale becomes a sensation and is even awarded his own primetime show where he rants about being mad, and his catch phrase, "i'm mad as hell and i'm not going to take it anymore!"
After convincing management that he is crazy, he is allowed to appear on television again, and he starts by apologizing before again, going into a "mad as hell" tirade.
The managers and directors become entrenched with the ratings after at first, being outraged by Beale's foul language sermons, and in particular, Faye Dunaway's character is only interested in ratings, even giving up her personal life to devote to ratings.
In the end, like all things, his show starts to sag and his ratings start to drop, so as usual, the producers and managers have to come up with fresh ideas and they do.
can't give it away.
check out the movie, great flick....more info