Thursday, June 9, 2011

Network (1976)

A few weeks ago, the boys at did a special show about Sidney Lumet's films.  This prompted me to see what movies I could find at the library, and one of them was Network.  I'd heard about this film a few times, and only recently realized it's where the "I'm as mad as hell" speech comes from.  I was quite excited to finally see this movie.

Some first impressions: the DVD case (I got a 30-year special edition from the library) boasts how "frighteningly, hilariously prophetic" this movie was in 1976.  Right away, I tried to make an effort while watching the movie to completely ignore that quote.  I find that when there are sensational quotes like that, they're usually exaggerated (what a shocking insight!).

For the most part, my initial thoughts were correct - I'd hardly call this a prophetic movie (especially since it seemed to be reflecting the times as they were - so in other words, things have simply continued along the same path).  However, there were some lines that were just bang on and could easily describe the state of the world today; for instance, take this line from Howard Beale: "Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube!"

If you understand the Internet to be a series of tubes, well, then, sure, this was a very prophetic film.  Moving along, I think my favourite scene in the movie was Ned Beatty's speech to Howard Beale.  It was just beautifully shot, and the lines were awesome - especially the parallel to an earlier scene in the movie.

I think that's also what was great about this movie: it was all just a bunch of big speeches delivered impeccibly.  And the characters were brilliant, especially Diane, the PD.  She was as she was described by Max - "You're television incarnate, Diana ..."

Loved the movie.  So, am I the last person on Earth to realize that the basic structure of Anchorman was largely based on Network?

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