[Home]  [Headlines]  [Latest Articles]  [Latest Comments]  [Post]  [Mail]  [Sign-in]  [Setup]  [Help]  [Register] 

For Me, For Thee

Hell Forms Bobsled Team After Police Chief Admits Fault In SWAT Raid Targeting Wrong Address

September 25th is Bill Of Rights Day - How Many Rights Have Americans REALLY Lost?

Leaving The Left

One Problem with President Trump’s UN Speech

The Four Disastrous Presidential Policies That Are Destroying the Nation

Niki Haley & James Mattis, 2020 challengers

How to F--k with a [Creepy] Porn Lawyer

Grassley ltr to Feinstein: "no reason at all to delay the hearing on Thursday"

Watch: Trump boasts of his accomplishments — and the entire UN bursts into laughter

FEINSTEIN: "I have no way of knowing" if Dr. Ford is actually going to show up to Kavanaugh hearing"

GOP lawmaker: Second Kavanaugh accuser refusing to talk to Congress

Science says liberals, not conservatives, are psychotic

UN audience laughs when Trump boasts

Sen. Chris Coons: Burden of proof lies with Brett Kavanaugh to prove his innocence

Kavanaugh: A Little Perspective, Please

https://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2018/09/25/jimmy-kimmel-suggests-cutting-brett-kavanaughs-penis-off/

OBAMA DECLARED MARTIAL LAW/COG PROVISIONS BEFORE LEAVING OFFICE! CIVIL EMERGENCY STILL IN PLACE A parallel shadow government is working directly against Trump & American people – Trump must declare new emergency to override “civil emergency” now in p

Be sure to vote – Ha!

Actor James Woods bashes Twitter after getting locked out

Handling an AGW (Armed Government Worker)

MICHAEL MOORE’S ANTI-TRUMP FILM BOMBS AT THE BOX OFFICE. THE NUMBERS ARE HORRIFIC

IDEN GAVE A LENGTHY ENDORSEMENT OF KAVANAUGH ACCUSER UNTIL ONE QUESTION CAUSED HIM TO WALK AWAY

Kavanaugh will use 1982 calendar to deny sex assault claims

Christine Blasey Ford’s Classmate (Quickly) Changes Her Tune

Criminal Charges for North Carolina Woman Who Sheltered Pets During Hurricane Florence

enate Democrats Investigate a New Allegation of Sexual Misconduct, from Brett Kavanaugh’s College Years

Russian MoD Presents IL-20 Investigation Results - Israel "Crossed The Line Of Civilized Relations"

We need to talk frankly about our rapid population growth in Africa if we want to beat poverty

Beto O’Rourke: “I Did Not Try To Leave The Scene Of The Accident”

LMFAO 🤣WHEN TRUMPS SPEAKS WE ALL LISTEN ... THIS JIVE A$$ TALKING TURKEY SHADY FOOL IS NOW A HAS BEEN FROM HOPE - CHANGE --- TO NOPE - DERANGED!

BREAKING: Christine Blasey Ford's Female Witness Doesn't Remember Anything

Ron Paul Tells Truth On Syria - Immediately Smeared

Ron Paul Tells Truth On Syria - Immediately Smeared

Ron Paul Tells Truth On Syria - Immediately Smeared

Medea Benjamin Shows America What Real Resistance Looks Like (consistently non-interventionist)

Former Trump Aide Jason Miller Accused of Secretly Administering Abortion Pill

Alex Jones “I’m Ready to Die” - Exclusive Interview After Being Banned

The White House is considering an antitrust investigation into 'online platform bias' at Google and Facebook — read the leaked document here

PayPal Cuts Off Alex Jones’s Infowars

Rosenstein suggested he secretly record Trump and discussed 25th amendment

Chelsea Clinton’s Abortion Claim Sounds Like Something Hitler Might’ve Said

Why Are We in Media Hell?

Trump's "Opposition" Supports All His Evil Agendas While Attacking Fake Nonsense

What Democrats Have Become; Brett Kavanaugh is a casualty of an anything-goes political resistance.

BREAKING: FORMER SCALIA LAW CLERK Drops Pictures and Evidence That Blows Christine Ford’s Case Wide Open

President Trump to North Carolina resident: 'At least you got a nice boat out of the deal'

Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War

Former Admitted Groper Cory Booker Says, ‘It Would Be Irresponsible Not To’ Consider 2020 Presidential Run

Laugh of the Day


Status: Not Logged In; Sign In

Other
See other Other Articles

Title: The 'outrageous' 40-year-old film that predicted the future
Source: BBC
URL Source: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20 ... film-that-predicted-the-future
Published: Nov 30, 2016
Author: Nicholas Barber
Post Date: 2018-07-10 12:43:49 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 90
Comments: 2

When Network was released in November 40 years ago, the poster warned audiences to prepare themselves “for a perfectly outrageous motion picture”. The film was written by Paddy Chayevsky (Marty, The Hospital) and directed by Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon), both of whom made their names in television in the 1950s, and both of whom believed that the industry, and the world, had been in decline ever since.

Network was their furious howl of protest. It was a triumphant black comedy, winning four Oscars, being nominated for two more, and going on to be held in ever higher acclaim. In 2006, the Writers Guilds of America chose Chayevksy’s screenplay as one of the 10 best in cinema history. Last year, BBC Culture’s critics’ poll of the 100 best American films ranked Network at 73.

But is it really “perfectly outrageous”? It’s easy to believe that, in 1976, Chayevsky and Lumet’s bleak view of television’s crassness and irresponsibility was deeply shocking. But the scary thing about re-watching Network today is that even its wildest flights of fancy no longer seem outrageous at all. The film was so accurate in its predictions that its most far-fetched satirical conceits have become so familiar as to be almost quaint.

Poster

The Network poster warned audiences to prepare themselves “for a perfectly outrageous motion picture” (Credit: Alamy)

It opens with a deadpan narrator introducing us to Howard Beale (Peter Finch, who died soon after the film was made, and was awarded a posthumous Oscar), the veteran news anchorman of a fictional New York-based television station, UBS. When he is given two-weeks’ notice as a result of his plummeting ratings, he announces on-air that he will commit suicide on his final programme; brilliantly, the programme’s producers are too busy chatting among themselves to listen. He soon backtracks. He won’t kill himself, he admits, but he will exactly say what’s on his mind. The station’s viewers are thrilled. Rather than sacking him, UBS rebrands him as “the mad prophet of the airwaves”, and encourages him to spout whatever bile comes gushing from his fevered brain. 

Max Schumacher (William Holden), the craggy president of the station’s news division, is appalled that Howard’s nervous breakdown is being exploited for the sake of ratings. But an ambitious producer, Diana Christiansen (Faye Dunaway), creates a glitzy new format for him - half current-affairs strand, half variety show - complete with Sybil the Soothsayer, who predicts the next night’s news, and a gossip specialist called Miss Mata Hari. Her argument is that while Howard may not be particularly coherent, or particularly sane, he is “articulating the popular rage”. His catchphrase now stands as number 19 in the American Film Institute’s list of best movie quotes: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

‘Like prophecy’

“Seen a quarter-century later,” wrote Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times in 2000, “it is like prophecy. When Chayevsky created Howard Beale, could he have imagined Jerry Springer, Howard Stern and the World Wrestling Federation?” It’s a fair question. A further 16 years later, though, it’s tempting to ask whether Chayevsky was imagining today’s podcasters, or even today’s shock-jock politicians, who sway voters by “articulating the popular rage” in terms no more sophisticated than Howard’s. Chayevsky and Lumet had more in common with Sybil the Soothsayer than they knew.

Peter Finch

Peter Finch plays a veteran news anchorman who announces on air that he will commit suicide on his final programme (Credit: Alamy)

The film was prescient in other areas, too. After Howard goes on air to insist that American businesses should be owned by Americans, he is summoned to a boardroom by the owner of UBS, Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty), and subjected to a fire-and-brimstone sermon on global capitalism. “You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples,” fulminates Jensen. “There are no nations. There are no peoples ... There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.” Perfectly outrageous? Over the top? On the contrary. In 2016, Beatty’s economic analysis doesn’t prompt any reaction more extreme than a nod and a muttered, “Sad, but true.”

Network

Network was prophetic, looking ahead to today’s shock-jock politicians and reality TV shows (Credit: Alamy)

But the most prophetic part of Network has little to do with Howard. Running alongside his story, there is a sharper, funnier subplot concerning Diana’s other brainwave: The Mao Tse-Tung Hour. Her idea is a weekly drama series about a real revolutionary group, the Ecumenical Liberation Army, which incorporates footage of genuine crimes committed by the ELA itself. In short: Diana invents modern reality television.

Ahead of her time?

Diana has her idea when she sees some black-and-white footage of an ELA bank robbery - footage that was shot by the robbers themselves. At first, she is amazed. “You mean, they actually shot this film while they were ripping off the bank,” she marvels. Nowadays, though... well, which terrorist cell bothers to commit any crime without filming it? Which television station or social media outlet would hesitate to show such amateur footage? And the crazy notion that shots of a violent crime scene could be spliced into a weekly television docudrama? It didn’t stop American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson winning four Emmy Awards. Network repeatedly tells us that Diana is a diabolical femme fatale and a soulless, ambition-crazed moral vacuum. Actually, she is just ahead of her time.

Dunaway

Faye Dunaway plays ambitious producer Diana Christiansen, who will stop at nothing to increase ratings (Credit: Alamy)

Diana is a liberated 1970s career woman as well as a classic screwball heroine

Indeed, if several of the characters and concepts in Network have made the journey from ‘outrageous’ to ‘ordinary’ over the past 40 years, Diana has gone further: she now looks a lot like the film’s heroine. It’s true that she is happy to profit from Howard’s instability and, when his ratings founder again, she has no qualms about arranging his assassination. But, well, nobody’s perfect.

DunawayFinch

Several of Network’s characters and concepts have made the journey from outrageous to ordinary – Diana now looks a lot like the film’s heroine (Credit: Alamy)

Played with breezy confidence by the searingly beautiful Dunaway, Diana is strong, honest, open about her sexual proclivities, and driven by a buzzing enthusiasm for her job. She is a liberated 1970s career woman, as well as a classic screwball heroine: the missing link between Rosalind Russell’s Hildy in His Girl Friday and Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon in 30 Rock. The only pity is that instead of having a Cary Grant or an Alec Baldwin to trade repartee with, she has the pompous and misogynistic Max, so it’s always a relief when she gets to share a scene with her fiery contact at the ELA, a Communist guerilla named Laureen Hobbs (Marlene Warfield). 

Much of Network is depressing to watch now, because it envisages changes in the media which have since come to pass, and they are changes for the worse. But whenever it shows Diana bubbling with innovations, pushing for “counter-culture” and “anti-establishment” programming, and outmanoeuvring the pipe-puffing old men in her way, the film verges on being optimistic. Lumet and Chayevsky probably wouldn’t see it that way, but if there are a few more women like her in network television now than there were in 1976, it has to be change for the better. (5 images)

Post Comment   Private Reply   Ignore Thread  


TopPage UpFull ThreadPage DownBottom/Latest

#1. To: Deckard (#0)

I still go back and watch this again, like every 2-3 years or so.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-07-10   15:40:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard (#0)

After Howard goes on air to insist that American businesses should be owned by Americans, he is summoned to a boardroom by the owner of UBS, Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty), and subjected to a fire-and-brimstone sermon on global capitalism. “You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples,” fulminates Jensen. “There are no nations. There are no peoples ... There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.” Perfectly outrageous? Over the top? On the contrary. In 2016, Beatty’s economic analysis doesn’t prompt any reaction more extreme than a nod and a muttered, “Sad, but true.”

Network was prophetic, looking ahead to today’s shock-jock politicians and reality TV shows (Credit: Alamy)

But the most prophetic part of Network has little to do with Howard. Running alongside his story, there is a sharper, funnier subplot concerning Diana’s other brainwave: The Mao Tse-Tung Hour. Her idea is a weekly drama series about a real revolutionary group, the Ecumenical Liberation Army, which incorporates footage of genuine crimes committed by the ELA itself. In short: Diana invents modern reality television.

hondo68  posted on  2018-07-11   9:13:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


TopPage UpFull ThreadPage DownBottom/Latest

[Home]  [Headlines]  [Latest Articles]  [Latest Comments]  [Post]  [Mail]  [Sign-in]  [Setup]  [Help]  [Register] 

Please report web page problems, questions and comments to webmaster@libertysflame.com