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Network (1976)
10/10
Network becomes a TV series
19 September 2006
The premiere episode of the TV show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip makes multiple references to Network, 30 years after the release of that remarkably prescient movie. In some respects, it appears that the TV show sort of brings the message of Network full circle, becoming, in effect, the TV spin-off of the movie. It's just wonderfully and oddly ironic that Network is now, in effect, a TV show.

As I watched the TV show, I was reminded of how remarkably true Network was in forecasting the future of television. The TV show, at least the first episode on 9/18/06, paled in comparison to Paddy Chayevsky's brilliant and outrageous script. And the actors . . . well, some of my current favorites are in the TV show (Timothy Busfeld, Judd Hirsch, Bradley Whitford, Matthew Perry and others), but who could ever approach the performances of Faye Dunaway, William Holden and Peter Finch? I'm going to consider the TV show a tribute to the classic -- and Network is a classic, perhaps one of the very best movies ever made.
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What's My Line? (1950–1967)
WML respected its audience
30 January 2005
I agree with all previous comments about "What's My Line?" (urbane, witty, erudite, sophisticated and intelligent), and I would add this thought: All these appellations are true because this show respected its audience. It did not pander. The panelists were never afraid to use a multisyllabic word. No doubt, some "creative consultant" would stop such behavior today.

Additionally, the show is a time capsule of New York in the '50s. You always knew who was "in town," and often why. Sure, maybe the appearance promoted a Broadway show or a book, but it always seemed more "newsy" than "promotional," unlike today when a talk show host holds up the book or shows an outtake from a movie.

A trivia note: Actress Jayne Meadows appeared as the Mystery Guest on 1 August 1954, the day after her marriage to Steve Allen,who was regular panelist that night. She disguised her voice (as the Mystery Guest often did), prompting Allen to comment that he thought the Mystery Guest might be Minnie Mouse. Panelist Arlene Francis correctly identified Meadows.
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10/10
Simplicity of sets
5 September 2004
The simplicity of the sets in this film are absolutely breathtaking. It is a film that captures the imagination not so much with what it shows as what it doesn't show.

This film is truly a "passion." Maria Falconetti expresses the pain and the anguish of a person who truly is being persecuted. Most of her shots are simply face or head-and-shoulder shots. Perhaps it is a reality of silent films that makes the images all the more compelling. Still, one can't help but wonder whether movies wouldn't be better today if the example set by this film and others like it were not followed.

Maria Falconetti is stunning. One wonders why this extraordinary talent is not more widely known.
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An emblem of the era
2 July 2003
This film is not great cinema, but it is important because it seems typical of the era: A Hollywood answer to television.

For example, it's a clear instance of Otto Preminger pushing the envelope on screen sex. (What else could that silly Mitchum-Monroe wrestling-match-in-the-woods scene be about? Dare anyone imagine how that would be filmed today?)

One can imagine that the crew fought for the opportunity to throw buckets of water on Marilyn Monroe.

Again, not great cinema, but an important movie for anyone interested in tracking the socio-economic history of the film industry.
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