"Network" is the classic satire of newsmedia from director Sydney Lumet. Chosen as a part of the AFI to 100 list, the 1976 drama stars Peter Finch as Howard Beale, a network anchor who is fed up with the state of the news that is simply out for ratings. When he threatens to kill himself on the air, the network recieves enormous ratings and goes along with it, without considering the situation and the tragedy that may follow.
Also starring Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway, the film offers terrific performances and impressive writing. Lumet has not been successful in recent years with films like "Night Falls On Manhattan", but classics like "Network" will be remembered fondly and appreciated for years to come.
VIDEO/AUDIO: This is a re-issue of the MGM release of this picture, and the quality of both audio and video are not exceptional, but for a film that's now 24 years old, the presentation meets expectations quite well. The image remains adequately sharp; not razor sharp, but still quite pleasing. Colors are not bold - this is a picture that uses a very basic color palette, keeping with the dark tone of the film. Colors that do make an appearance look very good, with no instances of bleeding.
Problems exist, but are minimal and can be overlooked. For a film that's fairly old, the print used is remarkably clean, with some areas that have minor marks and scratches, but the majority of the film looks quite strong. There's a tiny bit of shimmering once or twice, but no pixelation that I noticed. A little bit of grain now and again as well, but again, nothing major.
The audio quality is extremely basic, but lacking in any flaws. When a film is called "dialogue-driven", usually that can describe at least a good part of the film. "Network" though, its pretty much the definition of dialogue driven. There's really no music, and dialogue remains the only focus of the picture. That's not a problem at all, but occasionally the dialogue seems a little harsh.
MENUS:: I was suprised with the menus! Nicely animated, with clocks and other TV themed images, the menu is a fine intro into the picture.
EXTRAS: I'm not sure what could be done by Warner when re-issuing a title like this from MGM, but it would have been nice if they had put together their own special edition for this title. Director Lumet has provided a commentary before for "Night Falls On Manhattan", and I would have liked to have heard one for this film.
What we do get here is - a trailer, a quiz and information on the Neilsen ratings. What Warner Brothers unfortunately didn't get rid of was the MGM logo trailer. MGM definitely needs to lower the volume on that trailer - it's the first thing on the disc and always scares me when it begins at high volume.
Final Thoughts: Although I wish it was a special edition, Lumet's film deserves to be seen, and the audio/video quality does a good job presenting it. Recommended.