Howard Gottfried

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The Hospital Review


Extraordinary
Paddy Chayefsky's portrait of urban hospitals in the early seventies is scathing, cruel, over-the-top -- and beautifully accurate. While Chayefsky took this theme of urban decay to its limit in the masterpiece Network, five years later, The Hospital is a worthy precursor of the greatness to come.

Network Review


Essential
This groundbreaking film is a rare example of a really god satire that was popular with film critics and the public -- and even with entertainment industry insiders, who might not be expected to get the joke or appreciate the abuse. (I guess Hollywood has always had a condescending attitude toward TV, which explains the Oscars that Network received.)

One evening, Howard Beale (Peter Finch), a network news anchor, becomes fed up with the pablum of network news, decides he's mad as hell, he can't take it any more, and he's going to start telling the truth (or kill himself). Panicked producers fire him, but not before his ratings soar; so he's brought back as a commentator. Over the next few weeks, Beale becomes increasingly unstable and even delusional, but continues to tell the truth. The network's ratings soar, driving events forward to a tragic conclusion.

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