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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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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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 main character was originally called "John Cassavetes" and was in fact going to be played by actor-director John Cassavetes. When he withdrew from the film due to a scheduling conflict, the character's name was changed to "John Cassellis" and Robert Forster was cast in the role. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

In keeping with the film's documentary style, the cast is not listed during the opening credits, only in the ending credits. See more »


Edited into The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002) See more »


Who Needs the Peace Corps?
Written by Frank Zappa
Performed by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Published by Verve
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User Reviews

A groundbreaker
20 January 1999 | by (Denver, CO) – See all my reviews

Haskell Wexler, a cinematographer by trade, practically invented the technique invented we know today as "cinema verite" with this striking drama that plays so much like a documentary, you'd never guess it was fiction without being told. It's less a story and more a voyeuristic look into the lives of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, in this case reporters who are covering a political convention and other Chicago locals who are just minding their own business when the legendary riots break out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Even more groundbreaking is the approach Wexler takes in framing the film's final scenes. He had ample warning that there would potentially be some unrest at the convention, so he decided to thrust his cast right into the thick of it, sending them to the foyer and front entrance of the Chicago Convention Center and the crew right along to film the events. No one knew exactly what would happen, making this perhaps the most creative and timely piece of "improvised" drama in the history of filmmaking up to this point.

Every documentary filmmaker who chooses to make his/her film about actions and events rather than simply a bunch of talking heads owes a debt to Wexler and his creative team on "Medium Cool".

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