Friday, February 21, 2014

Network Stories

Arguably the best screenplay of the last fifty years is still Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network". Dave Itzkoff, a culture reporter for The New York Times, just finished a book dedicate to that great movie. “Mad as Hell: The Making of ‘Network’ and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies,” tells the story behind the screen. It is a must not only for Chayefsky admirerers such as yours truly, but for everybody interested in film making. One of the episodes Itzkoff reports is about the director Sidney Lumet's initial disappointment in Faye Dunaway’s performance. “She’s having trouble with the words,” Lumet told Heim. “He was thinking of replacing her,” says the editor. About Chayefsky Itzkoff writes, “at the age of 51, he could get his film scripts commissioned but not produced; he could get his television pilots shot but couldn’t get them on the air; and it would require the collective disappearance of every other form of dramatic art before he ever wrote another play for Broadway.”

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