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There are many, many reasons this movie succeeds so marvelously, but I would like to focus on three.
First, this movie benefits from an exceedingly fine cast. Not merely the leads, but many of the lesser roles are filled with extremely good actors and actresses. While Ralph Fiennes, John Tuturro, and Rob Morrow all shine in the leads, lesser parts are filled with people like David Paymer, Hank Azaria, Mira Sorvino, and Martin Scorsese. I was especially impressed by the always superb but underutilized Paul Scofield (who won the Oscar portraying Thomas More in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS). He seems the very embodiment of the man of reason, erudition, and courtesy portraying Mark van Doren, and his pain upon learning his beloved son has lost his teaching position at Columbia is one of the great poignant moments in the film. Look very carefully at the scene where several attractive coeds interrupt Ralph Fiennes and Rob Morrow and you will spot Calista Flockhart (a.k.a. Ally McBeal).
A second reason this film succeeds so well is its tremendous period feel. The movie looks and feels like the late 1950s at every second. QUIZ SHOW does a great job of [pulling] you in and giving you an almost tangible sense of time and place.
Finally, the movie is easily one of the most accurate historical films I have ever seen, although drama is never sacrificed for the mere sake of being accurate. If one has done any reading about the scandals or perhaps if one remembers the events, the film constantly impresses with the amount of accurate detail it contains.Read more ›
Paul Attansio adapted the screenplay from the book written by Richard N. Goodwin who was the government investigator at the time. In the film this role is played by Rob Morrow who is determined to uncover the deception. All the other actors are excellent too - most notably John Turturro who is cast as a Jewish man from Queens who is allowed to win for seven weeks before being replaced by Charles Van Doran, a professor at Columbia who came from a long line of scholars. Paul Scofield also shines in the role of Van Doran's father, who stands by his son even though the family is disgraced by the publicity.
It's not just the quiz show phenomenon that comes alive in this film. It is the nature of the times as well as the anti-Semitic undercurrent and cultural conflict that was endemic. Usually, when I see a film about the fifties, it looks like someone's imagination of what those times were like. But this film was different. I really felt I was right back there, many years before computers or even color television, sitting wide-eyed in front of that black and white set and admiring the contestants for being so smart. Times have changed. Now, we know we're being manipulated. And there is no outrage.Read more ›
What the filmmakers are telling us here, folks, is that without these added elements, the movie would be downright boring. See, if we tell it like it is, we won't make money.
Director Robert Redford and screenplay writer Paul Attanasio would have none of that. They chose to chronicle the events leading up to the quiz show scandal of the late 1950s without the embellishments that have become so much a part of Hollywood tradition. For that alone, they deserve the highest praises. But what makes Quiz Show a cinematic marvel is its ability to keep the viewer involved while remaining unerringly faithful to the facts.
John Turturro and Ralph Fiennes turn in career performances as contestants who at first benefit from, but later become victims of a system that dictates that ratings are more important than moral integrity. Turturro plays Herb Stempel, the annoying Jew who at first makes for an appealing underdog but soon wears out his welcome, and so has to take a "dive." Fiennes is Charles Van Doren, the handsome, clean-cut Ivy Leaguer who is seen as the worthy replacement and goes along with the deception, only to soon find himself in over his head but unable to just walk away.
Equally impressive is the supporting cast: Rob Morrow as Congressional investigator Richard Goodwin, Hank Azaria and David Paymer as the quiz show's manipulative producers, and Paul Scofield as Van Doren's ever-supportive but unaware father. Also exceptional, but easy to overlook in the glow of the all-star cast, are Johann Carlo as the unsophisticated, non-intellectual but nonetheless faithful Mrs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've seen it many times over the years. The other night we were looking for a good thriller and my wife had never seen it. Read morePublished 2 days ago by William W.
Love this true story!! One of the greatest scams of all time. I love the way the story plays out slowly, and then picks up at the end!!!Published 6 days ago by Rebecca P
Great movie. The sets were historical, the portrayal of early TV executives fascinating, and the introspection worthwhile.Published 1 month ago by Barbara Corbalis
This reviewer will not presume the surpass the other reviews for this film. This is a great film. If the story had not been based actual on real events, the story of the Quiz Show... Read morePublished 1 month ago by The Peripatetic Reader
An all-star cast comes together to present an amazing dramatization of real-life events of the late 1950s. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jared H.