7.3/10
3,536
54 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
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Gregory Lind is the junior priest at Our Lady of the Assumption, a Catholic parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Life at the parish is not perfect for Greg, as he is beginning to have ... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Haller
Stars: Robert Forster, Lauren Hutton, Will Geer
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: GP Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A group of young Indians living on the Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota stage a protest against the U.S. Government and years of lies and deception come to a violent climax.

Director: Tom Gries
Stars: Robert Forster, Kristoffer Tabori, Victoria Racimo
Cover Me Babe (1970)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Student filmmaker lets nothing stand in the way of his getting a studio contract.

Director: Noel Black
Stars: Robert Forster, Sondra Locke, Susanne Benton
Justine (1969)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

In Alexandria, in 1938, Darley (Michael York, a young British schoolmaster and poet, makes friends through Pursewarden (Sir Dirk Bogarde), the British Consular Officer, with Justine (Anouk ... See full summary »

Directors: George Cukor, Joseph Strick
Stars: Anouk Aimée, Dirk Bogarde, Robert Forster
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Documentary about the Occupy movement's protest against the NATO summit in Chicago in 2012.

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
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A sympathetic retired army scout takes-in a white woman and her half-Apache son, not knowing that the boy's father, a murderous renegade Apache, is after them.

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Gregory Peck, Eva Marie Saint, Robert Forster
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Bizarre tale of sex, betrayal, and perversion at a military post.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Brian Keith
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After his mistress is savagely beaten up a Mafia leader goes after the killer with a bloody vengeance. Soon after the hunt begins, a gang war ensues.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Frederic Forrest, Robert Forster
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
Director: Haskell Wexler
Stars: Edward Asner, Elliott Gould, Ian Ruskin
Bus II (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Directors: Thom Tyson, Haskell Wexler
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:

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

Available on DVD and Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection. 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: Better call an ambulance.
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 »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Winnebago Man (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Mom and Dad
(uncredited)
Written by Frank Zappa
Performed by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Played when Eileen is first wandering in the park looking for Harold
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Something very special...
22 July 2005 | by nicjayteeSee all my reviews

Absorbing, thought provoking and, above all, a unique record of an important "place & time", why "Medium Cool" still fails to gain the attention it deserves remains one of life's great mysteries.

First off, it's a pretty good if somewhat disjointed story… two "world-wise" middle class news reporters are sent to film the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and become unwittingly involved in its political demonstrations, the inner city problems that have precipitated them, and the lives of a single mother and her young son in this harsh, confusing and seriously under-privileged world. Its acting, in particular from Robert Forster as the lead reporter and the 13 year old Harold Blankenship as the son, is excellent and at times so effective that it's difficult to remember you're watching a rigidly sequenced film rather than a social documentary. And, it's overlaid with some quite stunning cinema-photography from director Haskell Wexler, one of America's very best exponents of the art, backed up by a perfectly pitched late 60's soundtrack.

Good enough so far, but that's just the start. Add-in its extensive live footage from the streets of Chicago as the riots develop, taken by the film's camera crew as they themselves are caught-up in a very "real" political drama, its ominous sequencing of the build up of events from a fun "day in the park" for the hippies/yippies to serious "police state" level violence, its equally chilling images of what was going on inside the Convention Hall while all of this was taking place, and the clever and disturbing scenes of the mother's desperate search for her lost son as Wexler films her within the increasingly anarchic crowds of demonstrators & troops actually on the streets at the time, and you've got… something very special.

Part film and part documentary, not all of what you think is "real" in "Medium Cool" is, and the lines between live and acted scenes are sometimes confusingly and frustratingly blurred, as in the famous call from one of the camera crew of "look out Haskell this is real" as a tear gas canister lands in front of them, which was in fact over-dubbed afterwards. But that's the whole point of the film as the final, almost startling scenes reveal. How far is the media in control? Is what you're seeing real, distorted or contrived? Wexler's brilliance is to take this underlying theme and to mould it into a fascinating exploration of inner city life, American society in a period of huge change, and the power/needs of the media in a TV dominated world, while, in parallel, producing a gripping record of what it's like to be in the centre of a demonstration that's spiralling out of control. Juxtaposing the impersonality of reporting with the very personal situations that are involved, it raises a whole series of questions on the way without falling into the trap of most films of the era in trying to ram home too many answers. And, as a result, it remains as relevant today as it did then.

Quite rightly regarded as one of the best "counter culture" films of the late 60's and much richer and more thought provoking than this classification usually implies, it remains one of the most under-rated films out there.


25 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 54 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed