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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Video: "The World is a Business, Mr. Beale"

One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1976 film "Network" which was directed by the great Sidney Lumet, and starring Peter Finch, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall & Ned Beatty.  It is a brilliant satire of pop culture, the media and the business of media, which in many respects feels fresh and relevant as if it was made today instead of 35 years ago.

Settng up the scene in video above without giving away too much plot:

Howard Beale (Peter Finch), the longtime anchor of the UBS Evening News, learns he will be fired.  Sorrowful, Beale announces on live TV that he will commit suicide during a future broadcast.  UBS fires him, but eventually lets him back on the air, ostensibly for a dignified farewell. Beale instead launches into a rant claiming that life is "bleep" which causes the newscast's ratings to soar.

The upper echelons of UBS decide to exploit Beale's antics rather than pulling him off the air. He's given a talk show which becomes the highest rated program on television, and Beale finds new celebrity influence.

When Beale discovers that CCA, the conglomerate that owns UBS, will be bought out by an even larger Saudi Arabian conglomerate, he launches an on-screen tirade against it, encouraging viewers to protest it, which throws the top network brass into a state of panic because the company's debt load has made merger essential for survival.

In the scene above, Beale is taken to meet with CCA chairman Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty) who explains how the world works...

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