Thursday, July 8, 2010

Razzle Dazzle: Fame Through Movies, Chapter 3: The Fraud

You can also view this on the Moving Image site here.


Craig said...

This aspect of the theme is a favorite of mine. There's something wonderfully dramatic and cinematic about a perpetuated fraud and the suspense that comes from if and when everyone finds out. As these choices show, there are a lot of possible variations too. The implications of "Hail the Conquering Hero" would be unthinkable today, though some of the support-our-troops crowd might benefit from thinking about them.

"Broadcast News" was very prescient in capturing the mood of TV journalism at the time, although William Hurt's Tom would be too pleasant and mild a presence to stay on the air today. My favorite take on this theme may be "Quiz Show," Robert Redford's best directed movie, with arguably the strongest performances to date by Ralph Fiennes and John Turturro, and a brilliant script by Paul Attanasio. From one of its first lines ("Now there's a face for radio") to one of its last ("I thought we were gonna get television; the truth is, television's gonna get us"), it's an thoughtful, provocative, disturbing film.

Jason Bellamy said...

Just seconding Craig.

I think Quiz Show is my favorite movie that I don't own. I put it on my Christmas list about four years in a row and never got it. Almost got it for myself numerous times. Then there was a streak where it was on TV constantly and so buying the DVD felt foolish. Now I need to buy it. Always compelling!

Steven Santos said...


Thanks for the comments. Matt did a great job with this chapter. I'm still quite stunned he pulled "Hero at Large" from the pile of past forgotten films. Though I'm not much of a James L. Brooks fan, "Broadcast News" is, by far, the best thing he's ever done.

Glad that "Quiz Show" is getting deserved attention. Like Craig, I feel it's Redford's best directed movie, having an edge to it lacking in his other films. It has one of those scripts that should be studied for its structure, dialogue and theme. ("Quiz Show" also appears in my chapter, so watching it again for that purpose made me appreciate it more.)

Quite excited for everyone else to see the other half of the series.