In the 1970s, terrorist violence is the stuff of networks' nightly news programming and the corporate structure of the UBS Television Network is changing. Meanwhile, Howard Beale, the aging UBS news anchor, has lost his once strong ratings share and so the network fires him. Beale reacts in an unexpected way. We then see how this affects the fortunes of Beale, his coworkers (Max Schumacher and Diana Christensen), and the network. Written by
Bruce Janson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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It is said early on that at one point, Beale's evening news program had as high as a 16 HUT rating. As HUT stands for Households Using Television, a HUT rating of 16 would mean only 16% of sets were in use, a low figure for that time of day where at least 60% would be expected. Additionally, the HUT rating applies to all programs airing at that hour. Individual program figures are reported as Household ratings or Household share. A rating is a percentage of all sets in the survey area, a share is a percentage of all sets in use at that hour. See more »
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 decline. He fell to a 22 share. The following year, his wife died, and he was left a childless widower with an 8 rating and a 12 share. He became morose and isolated, began to drink heavily, and on September 22, 1975, he was fired, ...
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This is one of those wonderful films where everything comes together. The acting and the writing is by far the most impressive elements of this film. William Holden and Peter Finch should have both received Oscars for their performances, instead of just Peter Finch. Faye Dunaway pulls of the most dynamic and emotional characters she has ever played.
The true brilliance of this film is that all elements of it fade appropriately behind the actors and their messages. The film is completely a work of storytelling and, at least for the writer, stunning clarity of message and purpose. Political films come and go but few remain in the annals of film because of their effectiveness at their own message.
The cinematography, editing, sound, costume design, art direction and production design are all quite simplistic. In some scenes the film can be accused of being almost ugly. However this all lends to the back-washing of the film so as to allow the message to ring loudest. In my opinion, Sidney Lumet took this just a little too far and thus I give it a 9 instead of a 10.
This is certainly a film for the history books. Every connoisseur of film should be exposed to this movie at some point in their life. If you happen to be cynical, then you will love every minute of this movie as its stark view of life in the 1970's (and onward) touches the hard of even the hardest of cynics. For those educators out there, GREAT film for classes on Media and Politics.
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