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Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies

By Dave Itzkoff

Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies

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Started reading:
2 August 2014
Finished reading:
6 August 2014

Review

“The fateful vision of the angriest man in movies,” says the subtitle. You might look at that — or at the jacket photo of Peter Finch — and assume that this book is all about Howard Beale. But Dave Itzkoff has other things in mind, and by the time he’s through telling you everything you wanted to know about Network you’ll know that not even Beale at his most messianic was as angry as screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky. (This is not a spoiler; it’s all over the flyleaf and in the Advance Praise.) The story, to movie buffs, is mostly familiar; but Itzkoff, with the help of Chayefsky’s own papers, has done his homework and then some. How much of Chayefsky’s own anger spilled into Beale? The answer: enough to make the character forever memorable, and, on the evidence presented here, enough to do so for his creator as well.