Paddy Chayefsky

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Marty Review


Very Good
Marty is one of cinema's most famous nice guy losers -- and he's possibly the winningest one at the Oscars. Originally an hour-long TV movie, Marty was reimagined by writer Paddy Chayefsky as a feature film about his hero, a butcher (Ernest Borgnine) who still lives with his mother and can't find a woman to save his life. Eventually he finally finds a nice girl (Betsy Blair), but getting around society and the all-seeing eye of ma (Esther Minciotti) isn't so easy. Tragicomic and simple, Marty's celebrated status is rightly earned, but it may be a bit to naive and simplistic for today's hard-bitten audiences.

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.

Paint Your Wagon Review


Weak
Having never seen the play or the film, I always figured Paint Your Wagon was about a plucky family of settlers who overcome incredible obstacles as they head across the great, wild west.

Boy, was I wrong. What with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood's singing, a whorehouse being built, a criminal tunnel being dug under "No Name Town," and a polygamous relationship among Marvin, Eastwood, and local honey Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon is so chock full of debauchery one might think Sam Peckinpah had been involved.

Continue reading: Paint Your Wagon Review

The Americanization Of Emily Review


Good
Arthur HIller directed this oddball black comedy (script courtesy of the masterful Paddy Chayefsky), which turns out to have little to do with Emily (Julie Andrews) at all. Rather, the film captures a quirky navy admiral who's intent on having the first casualty at Omaha Beach be a sailor -- and he wants to capture it on film. Lt. Commander James Garner doesn't want to go, and all manner of hijinks ensue. James Coburn steals the show, and rescues it from dated, overblown oblivion.

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.

Continue reading: Network Review

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