Network to screen Friday, Jan. 25
Central Penn College kicks off the second year of its Humanities Film Series with Network, the 1976 film that satirized the television-dominated media culture of the time. The Oscar-winning movie will screen on Friday, Jan. 25, 6:30–9:00 p.m., in the Capital BlueCross Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.
“It’s a brilliant film,” says Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi, who teaches journalism and public relations at the college. “It’s a dark satire about the power of television, journalism as infotainment, and the lure of profits at all costs.”
One of the iconic moments of the film occurs when down-and-out anchorman Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch, utters the now-famous and oft-quoted line live on network TV, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
“People remember Howard Beale––he’s the circus element––but the real strength of the movie is the conflict between William Holden and Faye Dunaway,” says Lear-Olimpi. “They represent the ongoing battle between serving the public interest vs. the insatiable quest for profits,” says the veteran instructor, who’s been a fan of the movie since he saw it as a high school student.
Holden plays Max Schumacher, the news division president of UBS, a fictional television network. He represents the old guard and believes that corporations––especially news organizations––should provide a benefit to the public. His nemesis is Dunaway, who plays Diana Christensen, head of the network’s entertainment division. She believes that ratings (i.e. profits) are the only things that matter.
Guess who ultimately wins that battle?
For the answer, you’ll just have to go see the film, which screens on Friday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m. Lear-Olimpi will give a brief talk and introduce the film. He also will facilitate a Q-and-A afterwards.
“The issues raised by Network screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky haven’t gone away,” says Lear-Olimpi. “In fact, the movie––in this age of reality TV, 24/7 programming, internet channels––seems more relevant than ever before.”
In addition to Network, Central Penn’s 2019 Humanities Film Series will feature the following movies:
· The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – a silent horror film from 1920 – April 26
· Get Out – the 2017 horror film written and directed by Jordan Peale – July 26
· Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – the series’ fifth installment – October 25
All films will be shown in the Capital BlueCross Theatre on Central Penn College’s Summerdale campus, which is located about five minutes from downtown Harrisburg.