Thursday, October 14, 2010

Under the Covers with Randall #1: The 'Mad as Hell' speech from Network


Back in August my friends and I did a two-set feature for Brunswick Hotel’s Passionate Tongues, paying tribute to film, poetry and music that has been either influence or inspiration. One of my goals for the event was to encourage others to seek out the artists work themselves and share the joy I’ve received from exposure to it. To extend on that idea, I thought it would be now helpful to compose a blog entry here to give you that resource.

Not to make any assumptions I’ve written each assuming you know nothing about any of the artists, and explain how I came about them myself. Where relevant I’ve included bios written by the artists themselves. I’ve links to YouTube have been included wherever I could find the original material, as well as links to whatever projects or resources they have available to share.

We performed a total of 21 pieces that night by as many different artists. I was originally going to attempt covering it all in two blogs, but it’s just gotten too long. I know while you’re out there browsing, it’s better to keep a thing bite sized, and that’s what Tales Told by an Idiot is all about.

Part 1:

The “Mad as Hell” Speech from Network –
Written by Paddy Chayefsky (performed by Peter Finch)

(click here to view)

Network sits in my top ten all time favourite films. For me it’s the archetypical movie of the 1970s Hollywood’s pre-blockbuster golden age. The powerful writing and acting have lost none of their power or relevance, the film still delivers on its bitter cynical, radical and brilliantly conceived of the entertainment industry and consumer culture. This speech delivered so deftly by Peter Finch is only one of the dozen plus great monologues in the piece.

The film is easy to find on DVD.
More info:

I thought it was a good note to start the night off on. The monologue progressively but rapidly builds to this crescendo of legitimately righteous outrage, as opposed to any great ideological truth. For me, Chayefsky’s words spoke to my notion that one’s desire for change should be personal and motivated by your own indignation, no matter your well-intentioned political leanings.

There was an added synergy for me in opening with a bit of Network. Just as I wanted to use this gig to help other discover new, previously unheard sources of oratory, Network in turn was a film I discovered inadvertently, the sole reason I knew of it or had a reason to watch it in the first instance was only because I’d seen it imitated in Weird Al Yankovic’s UHF (another favourite film of mine).


Well, that's one down, twenty more to go.

Next time: My Town -Buddy Wakefield



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