Medium Cool (1969)

R  |   |  Drama  |  1970 (Japan)
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A TV news reporter finds himself becoming personally involved in the violence that erupts around the 1968 Democratic National Convention.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harold Blankenship ...
Charles Geary ...
Harold's Father
Sid McCoy ...
Frank Baker
Christine Bergstrom ...
William Sickingen ...
News Director
Robert McAndrew ...
Marrian Walters ...
Social Worker
Beverly Younger ...
Rich Lady
Edward Croke ...
Doug Kimball ...
Gun Clinic Manager


John Cassellis is the toughest TV-news reporter around. His area of interest is reporting about violence in the ghetto and racial tensions. But he discovers that his network helps the FBI by letting it look at his tapes to find suspects. When he protests, he is fired and goes to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Beyond the age of innocence... into the age of awareness




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Release Date:

1970 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Concrete Wilderness  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The line "Watch out, Haskell, it's real!" was actually dubbed in after the shooting. It was supposedly what Haskell Wexler was thinking to himself and he wanted to include it. Verna Bloom literally stands out in the film because of her yellow outfit. Bloom said she picked the outfit because she thought her character, a woman of modest means, would wear something like that. It just happened to contrast with what everyone else was wearing, so you notice her. See more »


John Cassellis: Jesus I love to shoot film.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Studs Terkel is credited as "Our Man in Chicago". See more »


Referenced in Nothing So Strange (2002) See more »


Written by Arthur Lee and Johnny Echols
Performed by Love
Published by Electra Records
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User Reviews

Superb integration of the political and social aspects inherent in the film medium.
13 August 1999 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

Haskell Wexler's film generated much debate on just where American Cinema was headed upon its release in 1969. Its narrative revolves loosely around the relationship of a TV cameraman and a lower-class widow living in Chicago during the summer of 1968. The true focus of the film is on the Democratic National Convention and its devastating effects on that city during the "long hot summer" it was subjected to. With the care of an expert social journalist Wexler films the riot caused by the civil authority in that city with an unfaltering naturalism that Soviet Realists would kill for. His cinematographic gifts are never called into question as he edits the body of the film with patches of documentary and staged scenes. It's to the credit of the filmmaker that in one section a fellow cameraman has to admonish him as to the danger he is apparently embroiled in as he shoots a sequence. This wonderful play on the reflexivity so rarely admitted in film is reason enough to give this challenging but brilliant work of art a chance to leave its mark on you.

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