7.4/10
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52 user 68 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
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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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 »
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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

H & J See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The white television station news vehicle is a 1968 Chevrolet Impala station wagon. 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: Jesus I love to shoot film.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Nothing So Strange (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Are You Hung Up?
(uncredited)
Written by Frank Zappa
Performed by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Excerpt played at beginning of nightclub scene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Little has changed since 1968
17 January 2016 | by jakob13See all my reviews

The Criterion Collection has brought out a remastered, stunning 'Medium Cool'. America's answer to 'Cinema Verite'. Haskell Wexler's film could have been made yesterday, given the conditions in the US today. Although the technology of filming has changed drastically. In fact, given the success of 'Tangerine', it is easy to envision 'Medium Cool' shot exclusively on a Smartphone. Gone are the 40 pound cameras, the heavy television cameras set up at conventions, the one way voice boxes and the like. As Marshall McCluhan, the high priest and theorist of communication, posited: 'the medium is the message'. And Wexler took this guru's words to heart. We're in Chicago on the eve and during the infamous 1968 Democratic Convention. The story is half fiction half cinema truth, of a fun loving news photographer whose passion is the story and getting it right. Through his camera, we travel through the racial, economic and political stress and high drama of the times. (For good reporting, see Norman Mailer's 'Miami and the Siege of Chicago'). The 'hero' John Cassellis is shocked that his footage has been handed over by his employer to the FBI. So what else is new today? In scenes with blacks militants he is accused of being an undercover FBI agent, and they knew what they were talking about, for until then he was clueless. The world of the poor whites from the coal mines of West Virginia, the banter in the newsroom about the role of journalism. The spirit of the turbulent 60s has run out of steam but in some eddies here and there of on the fringe reporters, social media and streamed dailies or weeklies. And yet, documentaries are making a comeback, and showing the grim side of life and some moments of good works. Episodic as the film is, it is worth seeing, to see how everything old is new again


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