R | | Drama
A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.
United Artists agreed to make the film despite having recently settled a lawsuit brought on by producers Paddy Chayefsky and Howard Gottfried that challenged the company's right to lease their previous film, The Hospital (1971), to U.S. television network ABC in a package with less successful film. Later, United Artists backed out, fearing the subject matter was too controversial. Once MGM agreed to make the movie, United Artists suddenly did a reversal, choosing to co-produce the film with the competing studio that, six years later, would buy United Artists outright following the debacle of Heaven's Gate (1980), a financial and public relations nightmare that prompted United Artists' parent company, Transamerica, to bail out of the film business.
This story is about Howard Beale, who was the news anchorman on UBS TV. In his time, Howard Beale had been a mandarin of television, the grand old man of news, with a HUT rating of 16 and a 28 audience share. In 1969, however, his fortunes began to ...
During Howard's first stable rant (which ends with "turn your TVs off!") he walks right up to within inches of a TV camera just in front of the audience. It cuts to a shot from behind Howard, and the TV camera is now at least 6 feet away from him, almost not making it into the frame.
Paddy Chayefsky's credit in the opening credits says "by Paddy Chayefsky" (rather than "written by Paddy Chayefsky" or a variant thereof).
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