Actress Virginia Madsen worries that we aren't doing “Network” justice. “It's one of those great films that isn't seen enough, isn't talked about enough,” she admits in the latest installment of “Let's Go to the Movies,” the Academy's wish fulfillment video series. When invited to pluck a print from the Academy archive to take in on the big screen, Madsen went straight for Sidney Lumet's 1976 TV news satire, a remnant of a bygone era when movies were political, dangerous, and as prickly as their film grain.
Does Madsen have a point? “Network” is a pillar for film buffs, writer Paddy Chayefsky's script remaining a holy text brought to life by Lumet, Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, William Holden, Ned Beatty, and Wesley Addy, firing on all cylinders. The recent publication of author Dave Itzkoff's behind-the-scenes book “Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies” amplified the love earlier this year. “Network” is not a movie that's losing its footing in cinema history.
But Madsen arrives with a unique point-of-view. Unlike most “Network” fans, the “Sideways” Oscar-nominee is in the trenches of Hollywood. As she suggests in the video, if people in the business remembered “Network” the way they should, perhaps the industry wouldn't look so much like Chayefsky's damning portrait. “I wish I could ask Sidney Lumet what he thought of reality TV today,” Madsen laments.
Check out the rest of Madsen's video below, where she regales host/husband Nick Holmes with stories of meeting Faye Dunaway and the wonders of watching “Network” on glorious 35mm.