An idealistic young lawyer working for a Congressional subcommittee in the late 1950s discovers that TV quiz shows are being fixed. His investigation focuses on two contestants on the show "Twenty-One": Herbert Stempel, a brash working-class Jew from Queens, and Charles Van Doren, the patrician scion of one of America's leading literary families. Based on a true story.Written by
Tim Horrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At the beginning, Goodwin overhears news about Sputnik's launch. Van Doren appeared on "21" from November 1956 to March 1957. The Soviets launched Sputnik in October 1957. See more »
[In his office, Dan Enright has just told Herb Stempel that he submitted a list of 45 names for a panel show on NBC. The network had rejected three of those 45 names and Herb was one of those three names that they had rejected]
That big, uncircumcised putz is on the cover of Time Magazine and I can't even make the top 42 for a panel show.
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The network version of "Quiz Show" uses replacement footage in two places. They are:
In the scene where Dan is telling Herb that he has to take a dive, the line "Look, don't start believing your own bullshit, all right? You wouldn't know the name of Paul Revere's horse if he took a shit on your lawn!" is changed to "Look, don't start believing your own bull, all right? You wouldn't know the name of Paul Revere's horse if he took a nap on your lawn!"
When Herb is talking to Dan about getting a panel show, Herb's line "You get me that panel show, or I'm gonna bring you down with me, you lousy lyin' prick! You and Charles Van Fucking Doren!" is changed to "You get me that panel show, or I'm gonna bring you down with me, you lousy lyin' pig! You and Charles Van Friggin Doren!"
I watched this film for about the fifth time last night. I first saw it a couple of years ago when my mum brought it home, she'd picked it out of the bargain bin at the supermarket, and what a bargain!
It is a superb tale, I notice some have said 'who cares it was just a dumb quiz show', well that is hardly the point, many films are made where, what was seemingly the subject is actually just a background for the real story to be told.
Quiz Show is a brilliantly told morality tale, but that is not to say it preaches. It can get away with not preaching because the consequences of their actions didn't harm anyone. It doesn't say, 'if you do something wrong you will be punished'. It says 'If you do something wrong, can you live with yourself'. "It's the getting away with it I couldn't stand" Charlie says at one point.
A classical tragedy of a man with the world at his fingertips who throws it all away at his own volition. As a classical Shakespearean actor Fiennes is perfect for the role.
A wonderful intelligent and literate script, the pieces between Charlie and his father in the Athanaeum and at the picnic are wonderful.
Subtle music and stylish presentation are the icing on the cake.
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