5.6/10
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WUSA (1970)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 12 March 1971 (Sweden)
A radio station in the Deep South becomes the focal point of a right-wing conspiracy.

Director:

Stuart Rosenberg

Writers:

Robert Stone (screenplay), Robert Stone (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Rheinhardt
Joanne Woodward ... Geraldine
Anthony Perkins ... Rainey
Laurence Harvey ... Farley
Pat Hingle ... Bingamon
Don Gordon ... Bogdanovich
Michael Anderson Jr. ... Marvin
Leigh French ... Girl
Bruce Cabot ... King Wolyoe
Cloris Leachman ... Philomene
Moses Gunn ... Clotho
Wayne Rogers ... Minter
Robert Quarry ... Noonan
Skip Young ... Rep. Jimmy Snipe
B.J. Mason B.J. Mason ... Roosevelt Berry
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Storyline

Rheinhardt, a cynical drifter, gets a job as an announcer for right-wing radio station WUSA in New Orleans. Rheinhardt is content to parrot WUSA's reactionary editorial stance on the air, even if he doesn't agree with it. Rheinhardt finds his cynical detachment challenged by a lady friend, Geraldine, and by Rainey, a neighbor and troubled idealist who becomes aware of WUSA's sinister, hidden purpose. And when events start spinning out of control, even Rheinhardt finds he must take a stand. Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A picture for our times. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving violence, drug and alcohol use, sexual content and nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 March 1971 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Hall of Mirrors See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?


Quotes

[first lines]
Farley: First, the man took a drink, friends. Then the drink took a drink. Then the drink took the man. Now that could be the end of the story. But because there is a power greater than ours that man was able to raise himself up and walk again in the sunlight of grace. Dearly beloved, that young man was myself.
Rheinhardt: Amen!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The preview version ran 3hrs and 10 minutes according to cast member Robert Quarry. Much of his character and several other characters' motivation and dramatic development scenes were cut out before release. See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Glory Road
Composed and Performed by Neil Diamond
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Performances But It Just Goes Too Far
6 November 2011 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

WUSA (1970)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Heavy-handled political drama about a radio host (Paul Newman) who gets a job in New Orleans and quickly starts a relationship up with a former prostitute (Joanne Woodward). It doesn't take long for the host to realize that his radio station has some right-wing views and are using him to spread some not so innocent things. All the time one man (Anthony Perkins) has been collection survey data on welfare but it turns out he too was just being used to try and get people kicked off the system. WUSA has some terrific performances in it but the film is so over-the-top and melodramatic that you can't help but finally give up on it and especially once we hit the final twenty-minutes when everything pretty much gets thrown out the window. There's no question that the filmmakers and producer Newman wanted to get their message across and there are many ways to do this without having to be so heavy and dramatic. I won't ruin what happens in the final twenty-minutes but it's a real shame that the film spent so long building up the characters and only to have what happens bring them down so low. I think the biggest problem with the screenplay is that we've basically got three different movies rolled into one and each story is pulling in a separate direction. You have a romance between Newman and Woodward. You have Perkins realizing that someone bad is trying to hurt the poor. You then have these two connected to the third story dealing with the radio station and its owner (Pat Hingle). The problem is that all three stories are just way too far over-the-top that you can never really believe anything you're seeing and especially all the political stuff. Instead of telling a realistic story, it seems as everyone felt no one would understand what they were trying to say so they just went as far as they could to make that point. It really wasn't needed. The one strong point are the terrific performances led by Newman playing one of the darkest and meanest characters in his career. I really thought the actor did a tremendous job in the part, which is unsympathetic and at times rather hateful. Just check out the scene where Newman is ripping into Perkins on his "good" heart and it's certainly a side of Newman that we didn't get to see him play too much. Woodward also turns in a marvelous performance as she's pretty much the heart of the picture. I thought she was extremely effective as the down-on-her-luck prostitute early on but she also handles the more dramatic stuff later in the pic. Perkins too is very good in his part as is Hingle, Laurence Harvey, Bruce Cabot and Cloris Leachman. Shockingly, I think the best portion of the film is the romance between Newman and Woodward. The two obviously have great chemistry and I thought the scenes with them just sitting around drinking and talking were the best and most memorable in the film. Its said that originally this 115-minute movie clocked in over three hours and I can't help but think what hit the editing room floor. WUSA is well made and well acted but sadly it just tries way too hard to get its message across.


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