NETWORK – This is absolutely brilliant. Was TV getting to this point in the 1970s? I’d have thought turning news into pure, infotainment was something that didn’t even really begin until the world of the 24 hour news cycle came about.
Ned Beatty turns in a great monologue in a pivotal scene with Arthur Jensen delivering the Good News to Howard Beale, and seems to scare him back to reality; if only for a short time.
One of my favorite scenes features a contract read-through with Great Ahmed Kahn (Arthur Burghardt) and Laureen Hobbs (Marlene Warfield) where the communist radicals show a sudden, surprising grasp of the subject matter.
Laureen Hobbs: Don’t fuck with my distribution costs! I’m making a lousy two-fifteen per segment and I’m already deficiting twenty-five grand a week with Metro! I’m paying William Morris ten percent off the top, and I’m giving this turkey ten thou per segment, and another five to this fruitcake! And Helen, don’t start no shit about a piece again! I’m paying Metro twenty-thousand for all foreign and Canadian distribution, and that’s after recoupment! The Communist Party’s not gonna see a nickel of this goddamn show until we go into syndication!
Helen Miggs: C’mon Laureen. The party’s in for seventy-five hundred a week of the production expenses.
Laureen Hobbs: I’m not giving this pseudoinsurrectionary sedentarian a piece of my show! I’m not giving him script approval, and I sure as shit ain’t gotten him into my distribution charges!
Mary Ann Gifford: [screaming] You fucking fascist! Did you see the film we made of the San Marino jail breakout, demonstrating the rising up of the seminal prisoner class infrastructure?
Laureen Hobbs: You can blow the seminal prisoner class infrastructure out your ass! I’m not knockin’ down my goddamn distribution charges!
Great Ahmed Kahn: [fires off his gun through the ceiling] Man, give her the FUCKING overhead clause. Let’s get back to page twenty-two, number 5, small ‘a’. Subsidiary rights.