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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Network

Starring: Faye Dunaway, William Holden
Director: Sidney Lumet
Rated: R
RunTime: 121 Minutes
Release Date: January 1976
Genres: Classic, Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Ned Beatty, Beatrice Straight, Wesley Addy, Darryl Hickman, Ken Kercheval

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Brian Koller review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Walter Frith read the review ---

Review by Brian Koller
3½ stars out of 4

"Network" is an excellent black comedy that attacks the television industry, its lust for ratings, and its willingness to sacrifice any standards necessary to achieve ratings. While some of the many speeches by the actors have more passion than spontaneity, they are well written, and the various plot lines fit together like a glove.

William Holden plays a world-weary news executive at money-losing television network UBS. Peter Finch is the long-time UBS news commentator. He is to be yanked from the air for low ratings, but in one of his last broadcasts threatens to commit suicide on the air. Audience reaction is sensational, and thanks to prodding from programmer Faye Dunaway, Finch keeps his job. The UBS evening news becomes an entertainment show, complete with psychics, gossips, and wild rantings from Finch, who closes each broadcast by fainting onstage.

Holden tries to fight the transformation of the news show, and is fired by UBS boss Robert Duvall. Duvall is even more ambitious and cynical than Dunaway, and it is one of his most energetic performances.

"Network" is unusual in that the two male leads are men in late middle age. Both Finch and Holden were nominated for Best Actor. Holden gives the better performance, and has a magnificent gravelly voice. However, Finch had died before the awards ceremony, and his award for Best Actor may have been for sentimental reasons.

Despite having a very small role, Beatrice Straight won Best Supporting Actress. She plays Holden's wife, who has been abandoned by Holden for Dunaway. Straight and Holden have an argument that is very well written and acted.

Dunaway also won an Oscar for Best Actress. "Network" deserved won Best Writing, and was nominated for Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Director (Sidney Lumet) and Best Picture. While "Rocky" won that year, "Network" was the real star of the 1977 Academy Awards.

Copyright 1999 Brian Koller

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