Friday, November 18, 2005

Back to the '70s

According to message board posts (I haven't found the original article), USA Today reports that next February will bring two-disc special editions of scenery-chewing '70s favorites Dog Day Afternoon and Network, both with audio commentaries by the director, Sidney Lumet, renowned specialist in scenery-chewing movies set in New York City.

The New York Daily News mentions that George Clooney is planning a live TV remake of Network. That actually strikes me as a good idea, given that Network is essentially the lament of two veterans of '50s TV -- Lumet and writer Paddy Chayefsky for what was considered the "Golden Age" of TV.

Chayefsky's script for Network is a stream of invective against everyone who ever pissed him off -- mostly young people, women, young women, executives, and young women executives. But in between the apocalyptic ranting (as well as the moments of real insight, like the famous speech about globalization and multi-national corporations making nation-states irrelevant), there's a note of fuzzy nostalgia for a time when socially-conscious New Yorkers ruled the airwaves. Clooney, whose movie Good Night and Good Luck displays a similar albeit less strident nostalgia, should do very well with the remake; and it would be a nice touch to remake Network as exactly the kind of live, socially-conscious TV drama that Chayefsky was nostalgic for.

There's also a special edition of '70s favorite All the President's Men, but while I like the movie, it's become hobbled (for me anyway) by the whole Bob Woodward thing. It might be interesting to make a movie about that, though -- the reporter who becomes famous by breaking a political scandal and then coasts on his fame, disappointing the reporters who looked up to him. Redford would be right for the part, too.

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