Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Download Ex Machina
Before the DVD release on 8th June
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Take a survey for the chance to win an iPad
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
Shining: Studies In The Horror Film, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Definitive Ant-Man, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Unexpected Adventures Of Martin Freeman, The
1 Star Empire Rating
Charlie Chaplin Archives, The
5 Star Empire Rating
John Hughes: A Life In Film
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Charlie Chaplin Archives, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Saturday Night Live: The Book
5 Star Empire Rating
Grand Budapest Hotel, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Becoming Richard Pryor
5 Star Empire Rating
75 Years of Marvel
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
Who Are The New Mutants?
Fox’s X-Men spin-off features a bunch of fresh faces. Here’s what you need to know...

Stoical Supermen: 10 Quiet Heroes That Get Stuff Done
Silent but deadly...

Ana Lily Amirpour On A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
'There's nothing sexier than a vampire...'

Rick Baker: Creature By Creature
The make-up effects titan on his greatest creations

12 Of The Weirdest Things Jean-Claude Van Damme Has Done On Camera
Outside of his movies, that is...

Spooks: An Oral History
Cast and crew on the spy smash

Barbarians And Battletrucks: The Weird World Of Mad Max Knock-Offs
20 diversions along the Fury Road

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe now and save up to 69%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  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)