luni, 17 aprilie 2017

The Network, written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet

The Network, written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:

Sidney Lumet was an exceptional director and the author of a wonderful book:

-          Making Movies

In it, he explains the art of creating films, with the stories and the work involved in producing masterpieces like:

-          Dog Day Afternoon, The Verdict, The Hill, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and others, including evidently The Network

The Network benefits from a powerful, meaningful script, which won the Academy Award for best screenplay.
And the cast is stellar:

-          Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway have won the Oscars for their leading roles and other prestigious awards
-          William Holden, Robert Duvall and the other members of the team are excellent

And the plot is so relevant in the world of today.
The completion for audiences and ratings would push many networks to do anything, under all circumstances.

Locally and elsewhere, I am overwhelmed by the lack of morality and ethics that pushes many to extremes…
Click here, or access our page to see how this star has given born to a strange being and what it looks like…and then they just show something which is anything but exceptional.

And of course, we live in the era of fake news and the word picked by The Oxford Dictionary for last year was:

-          Post truth

The Donald accuses CNN and others of being the “fake news”, but he is responsible for the biggest number of lies ever to flow from the highest office.
There are also the friends of this phony, the Russians, seriously involved in spreading rumors and falsities, trying to influence elections, from America to France and Germany, where they attack those they don’t like.

The Network is set in the seventies, but there is the same fight for ratings, which bring in advertising and eventually profits.
Howard Beale is the character portrayed by Peter Finch and because his ratings are falling, he is laid off.

“Howard Beale: ...I want you to get mad. I don't want you to protest, I don't want you to riot, I don't want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression, the inflation, the Russians, or the crime in the streets. All I know is that first... You've got to get mad.”

But he goes back on the air, with strange, maybe messianic messages, that thrill the executives of the network.
At least during the period when the Howard Beale Show becomes the number one and the public is in rapture

“…You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

The repeated command has become one of the most famous lines in the history of cinema and the dialogue is wondrous.
There are references to Anna Karenina, the lies told in the media, we have a love affair and a marriage break-up, the steps people are willing to take to get at the top, the sacrifice of decency and ethics for money and fame and so much more…

To end with, I thought the film was extremely funny, besides being thought provoking and advancing so many important themes- like Where The Truth Lies, success and happiness, the rat race, insanity, unethical business.
Here is the dialogue between strange bed fellows, business partners that have nothing in common, apparently, except a desire to make money, even when they are commies, guerillas or other sorts of fighters for “ideals”:

“Laureen Hobbs: Don't fuck with my distribution costs! I'm making a lousy two-fifteen per segment and I'm already deficiting twenty-five grand a week with Metro! I'm paying William Morris ten percent off the top, and I'm giving this turkey ten thou per segment, and another five to this fruitcake! And Helen, don't start no shit about a piece again! I'm paying Metro twenty-thousand for all foreign and Canadian distribution, and that's after recoupment! The Communist Party's not gonna see a nickel of this goddamn show until we go into syndication!
Helen Miggs: C'mon Laureen. The party's in for seventy-five hundred a week of the production expenses.
Laureen Hobbs: I'm not giving this pseudoinsurrectionary sedentarian a piece of my show! I'm not giving him script approval, and I sure as shit ain't gotten him into my distribution charges!
Mary Ann Gifford: [screaming] You fucking fascist! Did you see the film we made of the San Marino jail breakout, demonstrating the rising up of the seminal prisoner class infrastructure?
Laureen Hobbs: You can blow the seminal prisoner class infrastructure out your ass! I'm not knockin' down my goddamn distribution charges!

Great Ahmed Kahn: [fires off his gun through the ceiling] Man, give her the FUCKING overhead clause. Let's get back to page twenty-two, number 5, small 'a'. Subsidiary rights.”

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