Saturday, April 28, 2012
#66 (1998) and #64 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 American movies List
Network is a 1976 American satirical film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer about a fictional television network, Union Broadcasting System (UBS), and its struggle with poor ratings. The film was written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet. It stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight.
The film won four Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actor (Finch), Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Straight), and Best Original Screenplay (Chayefsky).
In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In 2002, it was inducted into the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame as a film that has "set an enduring standard for U.S. American entertainment". In 2006, Chayefsky's script was voted one of the top-ten screenplays by the Writers Guild of America, East. In 2007, the film was 64th among the 100 greatest American films as chosen by the American Film Institute, a ranking slightly higher than the one AFI had given it ten years earlier.
* Faye Dunaway as Diana Christensen
* William Holden as Max Schumacher
* Peter Finch as Howard Beale
* Robert Duvall as Frank Hackett
* Wesley Addy as Nelson Chaney
* Ned Beatty as Arthur Jensen
* Beatrice Straight as Louise Schumacher
* Jordan Charney as Harry Hunter
* Lane Smith as Robert McDonough
* Marlene Warfield as Laureen Hobbs
* Conchata Ferrell as Barbara Schlesinger
* Carolyn Krigbaum as Max's secretary
* Arthur Burghardt as the Great Ahmet Khan
* Cindy Grover as Caroline Schumacher
* Darryl Hickman as Bill Herron
* Lee Richardson as Narrator (voice)
# Kathy Cronkite (Walter Cronkite's daughter) appears as kidnapped heiress, Mary Ann Gifford
# Lance Henriksen has a small uncredited role as a network lawyer at Ahmet Khan's home
# Some sources, including IMDB, indicate that Tim Robbins has a small, non-speaking role at the end of the film as one of the assassins who kills Beale; however, Robbins has publicly stated that he did not appear in the film.
Part of the inspiration for Chayefsky's script came from the on-air suicide of television news reporter Christine Chubbuck in Sarasota, Florida two years earlier. The anchorwoman was suffering from depression and battles with her editors, and unable to keep going, she shot herself on camera as stunned viewers watched on July 15, 1974. Chayefsky used the incident to set up his film's focal point. As he would say later in an interview, "Television will do anything for a rating... anything!"
The character of network executive Diana Christiansen was based on NBC daytime television programming executive Lin Bolen, which Bolen disputed.
Chayefsky and producer Howard Gottfried had just come off a lawsuit against United Artists, challenging the studio's right to lease their previous film, The Hospital, to ABC in a package with a less successful film. Despite this recent lawsuit, Chayefsky and Gottfried signed a deal with UA to finance Network, until UA found the subject matter too controversial and backed out.
Undeterred, Chayefsky and Gottfried shopped the script around to other studios, and eventually found an interested party in MGM. Soon afterward, UA reversed itself and looked to co-finance the film with MGM, which for the past several years had distributed through UA in the US. MGM agreed to let UA back on board, and gave it the international distribution rights, with MGM controlling North American rights.
The film premiered in New York City on November 27, 1976, and went into wide release shortly afterward.