Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

BOOK DETAILS
Released
01 March 2014
Author
Dave Itzkoff
Publisher

LATEST BOOK REVIEWS
Interstellar: Beyond Space and Time
3 Star Empire Rating
Becoming Richard Pryor
5 Star Empire Rating
Carsick
3 Star Empire Rating
75 Years of Marvel
5 Star Empire Rating
Disney During World War II
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Becoming Richard Pryor
5 Star Empire Rating
75 Years of Marvel
5 Star Empire Rating
Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy
5 Star Empire Rating
Martin Scorsese: A Retrospective
5 Star Empire Rating
Joss Whedon: Geek King Of The Universe
5 Star Empire Rating

Mad As Hell: The Making Of Network And The Fateful Vision Of The Angriest Man In Movies


submit to reddit

Review
It was almost 40 years ago that Network railed against television’s feeding of our most idiot tastes in a quest for ratings. This was a time before shock jocks, rolling news, viewers ‘having their say’, and headlines spun from nothing but a desire to fluff up enough fake fury in its audience that they might stay tuned until the next ad break. Every year the mirror it holds up to the television world looks less and less warped, with everything but its violent ending eminently plausible, and even that not completely unimaginable. The speech howled by Peter Finch, as the newscaster whose public breakdown becomes a ratings winner, in which he encourages viewers to scream out of their windows that, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” is one of the great monologues of cinema and as worth a shout now as it was in 1976.

Dave Itzkoff’s Mad As Hell is perhaps not entirely about the making of Network but about the distillation of the anger of its screenwriter, Paddy Chayefsky. Itzkoff’s brisk and thoroughly researched book begins well before Network was even a germ of an idea, following Chayefsky’s work through television to Oscar wins for writing Marty and The Hospital, his ideas always focused on men weighed down by life finally reaching their limit. While Itzkoff writes with complete reverence for his subject, his prose is detailed enough that you can view another Chayefsky between the lines. He’s a man of unusual talent, with the belligerence and snobbishness that comes from knowing this, and sometimes a total hypocrite — though Chayefsky repeatedly gripes about bad TV he is not above, when desperate for work, pitching a drama called The Rabbi Mystery Show.

He is as irate and argumentative as every one of his subjects. Yet who needs to be easy when you can produce writing like Network? The best parts of the book are the chapters detailing how Chayefsky beat Network into shape, taking it too far, losing his point and arguing with himself via script notes. It’s a fascinating look into how a brilliant mind works. It would be interesting to have a little more on the whys rather than the hows of the movie’s creation, to see just what made Chayefsky so prescient, but still, this is a rich story of a man who knew too much.


Reviewed by Olly Richards

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Joaquin Phoenix Talks Inherent Vice
Plus co-stars Josh Brolin and Katherine Waterston

Stephen Daldry Talks Trash
The Billy Elliot man on his Rio carnival and training as a clown

Colin Firth And Taron Egerton Talk Kingsman: The Secret Service
Plus Samuel L. Jackson on bad-guy duties

A Brief History Of The Ring
Everything you need to know about the J-horror reboot

The X-Men TV Series: 10 Possible Plotlines
Mutants on a budget? We suggest some ideas for Fox’s new franchise extension

10 Kid-Friendly Marvel Comics That Could Be The Next Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Animation Studios have a lot to play with elsewhere in the Marvelverse

20 Sitcom Spin-Offs That Were Doomed To Fail
From Joey to Ally and back again…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)