On the 12 Angry Men post, I said Sidney Lumet has directed numerous thrilling movies with Network being one of them. Network, among his other works, definitely stands out.
Newsanchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is being fired from TV station UBS from failing ratings. He announced on his show that on one of his upcoming shows he will shoot himself in the head, which results in high ratings and him getting fired early. His friend at the station Max Schumacher (William Holden) rehires Beale for an appropriate farewell and to apologize for his rant, but all Beale does is give a bigger rant. Producer Diane Christensen (Faye Dunaway) finds Beale's rants amusing since they bring in high ratings and convinces her boss Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) to put Beale back on the air.
Peter Finch, by far, has given the world probably the most eccentric performances of the 20th century. Hey, if you don't believe me just watch his "mad as hell" speech (which you can watch here). Dunaway was also good in the movie and by that time she was overdue for an Oscar. Good thing she won for this. Holden was also good and also earned his Oscar nomination. The one performance that got an Oscar that suprised me was Beatrice Straight's role of Max's wife Louise. She only onscreen for about six minutes and the scene where she denounces him for having an affair with Diane very much explains her Oscar. And Paddy Chayefsky's outrageous screenplay also earned that Oscar.
My Rating: *****