7.3/10
3,423
53 user 73 critic

Medium Cool (1969)

A TV news reporter finds himself becoming personally involved in the violence that erupts around the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Director:

Haskell Wexler

Writer:

Haskell Wexler

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Fast-Walking (1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A corrupt prison guard becomes involved in a plot to murder a black revolutionary serving time in his prison.

Director: James B. Harris
Stars: James Woods, Tim McIntire, Kay Lenz
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A pickpocket unwittingly lifts a message destined for enemy agents and becomes a target for a Communist spy ring.

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter
The Group (1966)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In June 1933, eight young women, who are close friends and members of the upper-class group at South Tower College, graduate and start their adult lives. The film documents the years ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: Haskell Wexler
The Bus (1965)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The struggle for civil rights has been one of the most important issues of American life for the last fifty years. In August of 1963, groups from all over the country journeyed to ... See full summary »

Director: Haskell Wexler
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman kills her beautiful sister in a rage after finding out she has an affair with her fiancé, and later plans on killing the little girl who may have witnessed the murder.

Director: Pat Jackson
Stars: Ann Sothern, Zachary Scott, Gigi Perreau
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A Ukrainian village must suddenly contend with the Nazi invasion of June 1941.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Anne Baxter, Dana Andrews, Walter Huston
Overlord (1975)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the Second World War a young lad is called up and, with an increasing sense of foreboding, undertakes his army training ready for D-day.

Director: Stuart Cooper
Stars: Brian Stirner, Davyd Harries, Nicholas Ball
Action | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The criminal exploits of Public Enemy number 1, George 'Machine-Gun' Kelly, during the 1930s.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Charles Bronson, Susan Cabot, Morey Amsterdam
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When a 16-year-old, neglected by his movie producer father, gets in trouble, his father doesn't believe his claim of self-defense.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: James MacArthur, Kim Hunter, James Daly
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A tomboy turned movie star deals with the cruelty of Hollywood.

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Natalie Wood, Christopher Plummer, Robert Redford
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Forster ... John Cassellis
Verna Bloom ... Eileen
Peter Bonerz ... Gus
Marianna Hill ... Ruth
Harold Blankenship Harold Blankenship ... Harold
Charles Geary Charles Geary ... Harold's Father
Sid McCoy Sid McCoy ... Frank Baker
Christine Bergstrom Christine Bergstrom ... Dede
William Sickingen William Sickingen ... News Director
Robert McAndrew ... Pennybaker
Marrian Walters ... Social Worker
Beverly Younger Beverly Younger ... Rich Lady
Edward Croke Edward Croke ... Plain-clothesman
Doug Kimball Doug Kimball ... Newscaster
Peter Boyle ... Gun Clinic Manager
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Dateline: Chicago August '68 See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1970 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Concrete Wilderness See more »

Filming Locations:

Illinois, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

H & J See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Verna Bloom and Marianna Hill would co-star again as the two female leads in Clint Eastwood's 1973 release High Plains Drifter (1973). See more »

Goofs

When Eileen enters the L looks for Harold, she is wearing a white hair band, but when they show her sitting on the L, the hair band is missing. See more »

Quotes

John Cassellis: If I gotta be afraid in order for your argument to work, then you got no argument.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

Due to copyright disputes, all video releases feature some different songs on the soundtrack from the theatrical version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Reel Radicals: The Sixties Revolution in Film (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Who Needs the Peace Corps?
(uncredited)
Written by Frank Zappa
Performed by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Played in nightclub scene while the band The Litter is on screen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Narrative is weak and improvised but it is interesting, informative and still relevant today
6 June 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

John Cassellis is an investigative journalist for a TV news station, unafraid to go into the areas that others avoid. In the course of his work he gets involved in the black ghettos of Chicago and the racial tensions they hold. As he interviews his subjects, John is challenged by them as well – forced to see what he is doing and why he is greeted with such hostility at times. When he finds that the station have been giving his tapes to the FBI to help them track down suspects he quits his job and tries to go alone, leading to his involvement in the Chicago riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

I only knew a little of this film when I came to watch it – so little in fact that I didn't know if it was a docu-drama or a documentary. After a few minutes I realized that this was a docu-drama and by the end of the film I was left impressed by what the film had done, even if I wasn't totally impressed by the film as a whole. The plot, for what it's worth, follows Cassellis as he reports on tensions in Chicago and then gets personally involved as he gets to see more than just subjects and is forced to take a stand as his tapes are not used for impartial purposes. In terms of narrative the film is pretty messy – the main characters aren't interesting and scenes where we are supposed to get to know them don't really work. At more than one point it seems to totally forget that it has characters and just wanders with the most basic of framework - and the ending is poor in terms of this story. However this film is not about John Cassellis as a character in a story it is about a cameraman's conscience, it is about comment and as such it is very interesting and really captures the period while making some very good points in a very even handed manner.

The film opens really well with a group of journalists discussing their role and in a way this is what the film is about. It is actually moments like the opening that are the best – for me the standout scene was where Cassellis is not allowed to leave a flat full of black people and is forced to not only listen to them but hear them as well. In these moments the film is great – totally of it's time and with a lot to say that is still relevant today. However at times this isn't as good as much as it is interesting and the ending is far, far too obvious and lazy and does an injustice to the intelligence of what has gone before.

Because the narrative is pretty weak the cast have very little to really work with and are caught up in the film (much as Wexler was caught up in real events). Having said that Forster gives a very good performance and it's not his fault that the film's aspirations leave him behind. The rest of the cast are OK and throw up a few faces including Boyle and Wexler himself but generally the focus is Forster at first and then later the setting of the period.

Overall this is a good film and one that is worth seeing, however if you expect it to be a traditional narrative then you will be disappointed. Instead watch it with an understanding of the period and the tensions/fears in America at the time as well as plenty of interesting points and ideas. On top of this film I heartedly recommend that you find and watch the 'making of' documentary called 'Watch Out Haskell it's Real!' as it really does a great job of fleshing out not only the period but also the characters and their story lines.


9 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 53 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed