Wise: Hi there, Werth.
Wise: He was a masterful, prolific filmmaker.
Werth: And one film in particular has stuck in my craw.
Wise: Cue the chorus.
Werth: Network’s log line could read: A news agency deals with ratings, revolutionary groups and a messianic newscaster—but the movie deals with so much more than that. Max Schumacher (William Holden) is an aging newsman who finds himself inside bars downing shots of whiskey and reminiscing about his days with Walter Cronkite. His pal Howard Beale is fired for poor ratings by corporate news muckety-muck Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) and ambitious succubus Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway).
Werth: Christensen knows good ratings when she sees them, and soon she re-organizes the nightly news with Beale’s ranting editorials, psychic hoo-haw, and a group of Symbionese Liberation Army wannabes—turning Beale’s cry for legitimate change into a program catchphrase.
Wise: Sounds like a day at the Fox News Network.
Werth: You mean Joel “Nipples on the Bat-suit” Schumacher?
Werth: Pryor looks like he had plenty to occupy him off-camera.
Wise: In some ways, it’s a shame that Lumet and Ross didn’t leave The Wiz to be made by someone else entirely while the two of them developed a film about a reluctant New Yorker who eventually allows both the magic and the mayhem of the city to release her inhibitions. That would have been a picture ideally suited to Lumet’s affectionate dissections of the city and Ross’ twitchy drive.
Werth: Maybe they could have called it Twitch and the City. Or The Blair Twitch Project. I know! How about The Twitches of Eastwick?
Wise: Or maybe not... Check back next week for more Film Gab... and less twitching.
Werth: The Seven Year Twitch?