With stunning prescience, Sidney Lumet's searing satire of television and the contemporary moment chronicles the media's imminent corruption and the p...
5 reviews from the community
Review of "Network (DVD)"
Made in 1976 and directed by Sidney Lumet, this film has become all the more relevant in the current climate of reality TV and ratings wars. The film tells the story of news broadcaster Howard Beale (Peter Finch) whose ratings have begun to slip and is being fired from the Network. Beale has a breakdown and on air declares that he is going to kill himself on his final broadcast. Rather than pull him off air it is decided that this event will pull ratings so they let him go on. He doesn't go through with it but instead rambles about the doomed world. Another opportunity is seen and he is kept on as a TV evangelist/ prophet.This film is exceptional in my opinion. The script sizzles and entertains. It's satire is particularly potent nowadays and was incredibly ahead of it's time when made. The performances throughout are top notch. Peter Finch rightly won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the mad broadcaster but his support cast are also electric.
William Holden gives one of his best screen performances (certainly from the later part of his career) as Max Schumacher the network executive and Howard's friend and comes across as the most likeable character here being genuine and sincere. Faye Dunaway plays the scheming, power hungry programming exec vying for Schumacher's job. She is genuinely loathsome and dislikeable. As is Robert Duvall as the loud mouth network head.Beatrice Straight won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Max's long suffering wife. I think this must be the shortest amount of screen time in history to win an award but it is deserved. Every scene she is in she steals with displays of heartbreaking emotion and steadfast resolve as a loyal wife.
Masterpiece is a word often over used but I would think it apt for this film.
Product Information : Network (DVD)
Manufacturer's product descriptionWith stunning prescience, Sidney Lumet's searing satire of television and the contemporary moment chronicles the media's imminent corruption and the public's wholesale purchase into the myths that it creates. With a verbose and visceral script from Paddy Chayefsky, NETWORK follows the doomed path of aging newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch), who upon learning that he is to be fired after decades as a news anchor announces to millions of viewers that he will publicly commit suicide during his last broadcast. When the ratings consequently shoot up, razor-sharp executive in training Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) seizes the moment to exploit Beale's messianic nervous breakdown, turning his delusional exclamatory rage into the vehicle for the network's first number one show and a nationwide craze. Middle-aged and fading news department head Max Schumacher (William Holden) is the only thing that stands in Diana's way--and even then not for long after she casually seduces him and easily has him fired with the help of the savage new head of the network, Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall). The moral and spiritual turpitude delivered by the debilitating forces of television are rendered in sharp relief against a backdrop of crumbling humanity in what is regarded as one of the great satires in Hollywood history.
Listed on Ciao since: 15/07/2000