Louise Schumacher: I’m your wife, damn it. And, if you can’t work up a whit of passion for me, the least I require is respect and allegiance.
(Funny, the best use of a 5-minute scene in movie history, just about, and the genesis of an academy award for best supporting actress, and IMDB has Beatrice Straight listed 36th in the credits. This mirrors the closing credits in the movie.)
Many people don’t know that this is based on an actual practice by humorist, author, and radio broadcaster Jean Shepard (probably best known for writing A Christmas Story).
From time to time Shepherd, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, would tell his listeners to go to their windows, open them, place their radios with loudspeakers pointed out into the night and turn up the volume.
Shepherd would then yell some startling comment that would be heard throughout the neighborhood. He called this act of comic defiance, “Hurling an Invective.”
Shepherd said that Chayefsky had called him and asked if he would mind if in “Network” he could, in a kind of tribute to Shepherd’s “invectives,” use the idea.
Some of Shep’s invectives:
• You don’t think for a moment you’re fooling anyone, do you?
• How long do you think you can get away with this? The jig is up!
I think Network is brilliant, but Ned Beatty’s big speech just never did anything for me. The rest of the movie, Peter Finch’s diatribes in particular, are wonderfully plain-spoken. And then Beatty comes in with the sort pompous buzzwords that the rest of the movie is so good at skewering.