Classic Movie Of The Week 2017

Classic Film Of The Week: Network (1976)

network poster

Starring: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall, Peter Finch

Director: Sidney Lumet

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

In network television, ratings rule. When you watch films like Christine (2016) or Network, you get the feeling that things were changing in the 70’s and that getting people to watch was more important than the morality of what they were watching. The popularity of this film, and it’s 4 Oscar wins and 6 nominations perhaps attests to how cynical people were perhaps feeling at the time, as well as, of course, the cleverness of the film as a whole.

Howard Beale (Finch) is an anchor facing retirement, who openly states on air that he plans on killing himself. Though he is pulled off the air, Diana Christensen (Dunaway), vice president of programming (and a very snappy dresser, I might add) sees Β a potential way to boost numbers, and soon Beale is ranting to the public in his own show. Paranoid and delusional, the public love him, but while Diana and nightly news Max Schumacher bask in the success without seeing the potential dangers, Frank Hackett (Duvall), another executive, is the dying voice of moral and ethical journalism.

Beale is used and manipulated, then coldly eliminated when he’s no longer of use. And life goes on. There are so many commentaries in this film about TV viewers, sensationalism, the lack of journalistic integrity, ego and playing with people’s lives and emotions, that this film could have been a diatribe or a long sermon, but the humour and cynicism are used masterfully and to great effect. It’s hilarious, even though it’s also kind of scary. And Faye Dunaway is brilliantly cold and calculating, a delight to watch.

See It If: you’ve ever complained that TV is too violent or isn’t what it used to be. Or any of you out there who are cynical, you’ll get a kick out of this.

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10 thoughts on “Classic Film Of The Week: Network (1976)”

  1. Oh yes, this was such a fantastic movie. I absolutely hated Faye Dunaway’s character in this movie…which only goes to show his brilliant her role was. It was such a terrific peace of cinema. One of those movies that once you have seen it…it stays with your forever. Great post….I always look forward to these classic movie reviews of yours 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just wanted to thank you not for just this particular review, but all the others as well. It’s nice to see a younger generation appreciate older movies. You have a nice variety of film reviews that spans all genres and eras. Keep ’em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my favorite films of all time. The scene where everyone starts shouting “I’m mad as hell & I’m not going to take this anymore!” from their windows gives me goosebumps every time, i might even shed a tear if i’m feeling it. Movies with dialogue this good are seldom stumbled on these days. It has the same dialogue pace & intelligence as All About Eve.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re right, this movie did really foreshadow the turning point for network television. It created quite a few tsunamis when it came out.

    And as for Faye Dunaway? That orgasm scene is a classic. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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