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tom moody

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The odious Quiz Show ran on Turner Classic Movies last night. (More on why it's odious below.) During a crucial scene a Congressional investigator played by Rob Morrow (wha' happened to him?) interviews Martin Scorsese as the slimy CEO of Geritol. Normally TCM doesn't bleep dialogue but at the scene's climax the actors' voices started cutting out! "Are you saying that [silence] did [silence]?" "Yes [silence] and then NBC [silence]" is how I remember it. Forgive the paranoia but the movie is about how a little-guy prosecutor went up against Big TV and Big Corporate America in the '50s and lost big. The truth supposedly didn't finally come out till '94 when the brave Robert Redford exposed it--is someone sweeping something back under the rug?

The movie is odious because it's Richard Goodwin's cheap revenge. Goodwin is the prosecutor Morrow plays; he also co-produced the film. In real life he had no evidence that NBC bigwigs paid off a quiz show contestant not to blab that the show was rigged. He couldn't legally tie the top brass to the corruption, so 40 years later he has hugely influential movie star and hack director Redford invent a scene where NBC's president asks the contestant to lie (Redford also significantly enlarged Goodwin's role in the investigation, apparently). The movie exudes smug righteousness but of course it's just one arm of the mediatainment monopoly pretending to police the others. "Look at us, we used to be a cesspool but now we're not!"

The direction and high production values suck you in and keep you watching; too bad Redford doesn't trust the audience to interpret what's going on. He packs the mise en scene with reaction shots of Morrow's boyishly handsome face looking skeptical, disappointed, mad--closeup after closeup as the story unfolds. Ron Howard does this too in his movies, and it's just infantile. I know it's the TV influence, but yuck. Also, speaking of Scorsese, The Aviator features a "sitting around the dinner table with pretentious, eccentric old-money Connecticut WASPs" scene almost identical to the one in this movie.

- tom moody 2-07-2005 3:55 am [link] [2 comments]