Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sidney Lumet

Okay, I lied. I said I was going to talk about how great THX-1138 is. Well, I'm just going to implore you to watch it and realize it for yourself, instead I'm going to talk a little about Sidney Lumet.

Sidney Lumet directed two of the greatest movies ever made back to back. And this was after he'd already made one of the best movies ever two years before. Serpico, in 1973, then Dog Day Afternoon in '75 and Network in '76.
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I mainly want to talk about Network because, of the three, it's my favorite. I try, never with good results, to get everyone that I can to watch this picture. It speaks so much to what is happening in the media now: The handing over of news departments to programming and entertainment departments.

A line Robert Duvall has in the movie explains it all: "We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get."

Sadly, all of the networks nowadays have turned into whorehouse networks. Howard Beale's rants about turning the television off and living life are amazing and the UBS executives keep him on, despite his anti-UBS rantings, because people watch it en masse. It reminds me a lot of Disney giving Michael Moore money for a movie, or a capitalist book publisher publishing the Communist Manifesto, or if Morgan Spurlocks next movie was funded by McDonalds. It doesn't make sense, but if they can turn a buck, they'll do it.

The entire entertainment industry (with very few notable exceptions) is a whorehouse.

But let's not forget the acting in this movie. William Holden. Peter Finch. Faye Dunnaway. Robert Duvall. Ned Beatty. (how did Ned Beatty slip in there?) They all do the best work of their lives in this picture. The dialogue is so terse and lengthy and all of these actors turn it into poetry. And Lumet crafts a story out of Chayefskys screenplay that almost makes me weep it's so good. And I can't even begin to explain how bizarre but perfect the structure of this screenplay is, what with the narrator and such. It just works to no end.

Long story short, this movie still holds up as riveting and appropriate social commentary and deserves another look from all of you. I'd highly recommend it.


2 comments:

Gen. JC Christian, Patriot said...

Network is incredible. I watch it every time it's aired. Same with Dog Day Afternoon.

Attica
Attica
Attica

Gen. JC Christian, Patriot said...

BTW, the sold out audience I sat with in Seattle loved This Divided State.

What became of Joe Vogel?