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Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The behind-the-scenes story of the making of the iconic movie Network, which transformed the way we think about television and the way television thinks about us

“I’m mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!”

Those words, spoken by an unhinged anchorman named Howard Beale, “the mad prophet of the airwaves,” took America by storm in 1976, when Network became a sen
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 18th 2014 by Times Books
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Community Reviews

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Carol Storm
As a total film nut I really had mixed feelings on this book. On the one hand, David Itzkoff fills this book with fascinating gossip on some of my favorite Seventies movie stars, such as William Holden and Faye Dunaway. And the sections that describe how the movie NETWORK was actually filmed and put together are absolutely fascinating. On the other hand, I never bought any of the major arguments that Itzkoff makes in this book. To give you some examples:

I never bought into the premise that NETWO
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Richard Kramer
Scrupulous, perceptive, impeccably reported and presented with just the right amount of appreciative distance.
Paddy Chayefsky comes to wild, crazy, tragic life on the page, and Itzkoff brilliantly shows how everything in his life led
to NETWORK and how nothing else that followed could ever match it, not for success (although he died not long after) but
as a vehicle in which he could capture all the tensions and wild anger that made him -- and television -- what they are.
He went too far, he talked
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Geoffrey
I loved "Mad as Hell." When I first learned that a book had been written about the making of the movie "Network," I was anxious to read it. "Network" is one of my top favorite films of all time. I love the direction by Sidney Lumet, one of my favorite directors. I also enjoy the performances by the cast, especially Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Beatrice Straight, Robert Duvall, and Ned Beatty. And, I love the brilliant screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky. Because of my longtime enjoyment ...more
Dave Donahoe
Read as a first reads selection.

An excellent review of the making of one of the most prescient films ever made. The author uses Network as a springboard to examine the life and career of Paddy Chayefsky, the divisive screenwriter of Network and, 20 years earlier, Marty. Chayefsky was an uncompromising figure with an intense vision of his art, and the world in which he existed.

Itzkoff explains Chayefsky's writing methods and his incredible talent for self editing. He would write comments to himse
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Lee Anne
A decent exploration of the making of the movie "Network." If you've never seen it, do so.

I liked this book enough that I had weird dreams related to the movie (more than one, even), and although it took me a little bit to adapt to Iszkoff's writing style, it flowed well and told me a great deal that I didn't know about Paddy Chayefsky. It also led me to look up new things and revisit old favorite things related to the movie (Faye Dunaway's post-Oscar photo, for example).

My only complaint, and
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Patrick Justo
It's a find book about the behind-the-scenes work that went into the making of the movie Network. The author has done some amazing research, based on interviews with friends and colleagues of Paddy Chayefsky, as well as an thorough search of Chayefsky's papers. (He raises an interesting possibility that a prank by Mel Brooks, one of Paddy's friends, might have been the initial acorn that sprouted into Network.)

This book is an interesting historical document, so you should read it for that. What
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Patrick Nichol
This is a brilliant book that should be required reading in Journalism schools and film studies programs alike.
Author Dave Itzkoff has crafted a fascinating examination of one of the most important movies of the 1970s. Who hasn't watched fictional newsman Howard Beale's on-air meltdown, exhorting viewers to shout : " I'm as mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
Itzkoff takes you behind the scenes of renowned screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky's masterpiece in a "you are there" approach. Yo
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Ian
Thoroughly engaging and compelling account of the Oscar winning screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky and the making of "Network", from its putative origins through to its critical reception and lasting cultural imprint. What the text lacks in depth is more than made up in its breadth. The research is expansive; Dave Itzkoff, the author, weaves cast and crew recollections, Chayefsky's personal papers, trade publications, film criticism, and media professional interviews into an illuminating tapestry - no ...more
Joshua
Brief, entertaining biography of lauded screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky and the inspiration, tumult and behind the scenes events of the filming of the 1976 movie NETWORK. Chayefsky's reputation was as someone who took no bullsh*t and the book gives lots of examples of that and how he wielded his power in Hollywood when it was very rare for writers to gain the control he had. Mostly, power goes to directors, producers, actors, the heads of studios--writers are usually the lowest level of the power t ...more
Doug
As fascinating as this is about the making of Network, it's the first 75 or so pages that are worth the price. Getting an insight on Paddy Chayefsky is invaluable to understanding the movie, and the examination of his preparation and writing processes is essential reading for anyone in film or fiction. Oh, there's the requisite gossip, too, but the author also offers a really insightful cultural analysis of the work that makes it both of-its-time as well as relevant in the contemporary context. ...more
Daniel Sloyan
It's more than just the making of network, it's also a look at paddy chayefsky's life, and how angry and troubled he was and how that influenced his writing Network, and then onto his career after Network as well. I hadn't known the full extent of the controversy surrounding the film when it came out. It also goes into depth about each of the main 3 actors' lives as well. I wish more time was spent on the actual filming of the movie, but I guess there weren't a whole lot of problems so there wou ...more
Rich P
Alonside "Pictures of a Revolution," this is very much one of the best "Making of..." books I have ever read. The book reads at a great clip and is about as detailed as anything I have ever read. Some of the book's "surprises" have been detailed elsewhere, but I am not going to do it here. I think the only thing Itzkoff has overlooked is the influence that an earlier film, Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd," with its observations on the importance and possible misuse of the media, may have had on Cha ...more
Hal
When I first decided to review this book I wondered if something written about its making would be interesting to read as the movie was as great to watch. It was. Dave Izkoff takes an intriguing look at the many factors and subplots that went into making this iconic picture. From Paddy Chayefsky's conceptual ideas, to the casting of the characters, to the nuts and bolts of putting the film together by director Sydney Lumet.

"Network" came out of the turbulent 70's, the era that gave us the cultur
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Andrew
Prescient

Chapter's was a tremendous writer and social critic. he wrote the movie Network , among others. This book tells the story of the making of the movie and works as a biography of Chayefsky. I enjoyed the book because I lived the writing in Network and because I had recently read the biography of Bob Fosse which mentioned Chayefsky since he was one of Force's best friends. Actually the Fosse book made Paddy amore interesting than did this book, hence four stars. Still recommended.
Dan Lalande
A thorough look at 'Network,' the 1976 black comedy about the corporate devaluation of humanity with television leading the charge. What should be there is there: bios, production notes, eyewitness anecdotes, reviews and, of course, a climactic, 21st century contextualization of writer Paddy Chayefsky's warning cries. An earnest and occasionally intelligent, if formulaic, fan piece.
Bill Givens
Terrific story of the making of an iconic movie..."Network." The book reads like a thriller. Wonderful behind-the=scenes narrative. If you're a fan of the movie, or if you want to see what machinations it takes to make a classic film, you'll love "Mad as Hell." And if you're a news junkie, you'll be amazed to see how many of the news-hour horrors satirized in this film actually came true.
Marvin
I received this book on Monday Dec. 16th and finished it Dec. 17th. It was fantastic! I really enjoyed "Network" the movie when it came out and this behind the scenes look at its making is superb. It was a delight to be introduced to the writer and his back ground which led to such an amazing movie. I still don't know how it was made considering its content and the writers demands for control. That doesn't happen in Hollywood. I remember the sour grapes attitude that many new-casters took after ...more
Deborah
That the movie "Network" was prescient is an acceptable truth today. As a former television news producer and manager, I remember my bosses railing against the film when it came out in 1976 and declaiming how wrong-headed it was. Fast forward to 2014, and much of what Paddy Chayefksy envisioned for television is here.

Dave Itzkoff combines a biographical approach to the screen-writer with the behind-the-scenes view of both movie-making and television news to present a detailed account of how the
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Joe Eisner
If, like me, you are a big fan of "Network", then this book is a welcome insight into some of the background on the movie and Paddy Chayefsky, it's brilliantly talented writer. Itzkoff could have spent more time focusing on Sidney Lumet and the pace was a bit uneven, but overall it was worth reading.
Kevin J. Bouffard
If you loved Network, you'll like this book.

If you loved Network, you'll like this book.

After seeing Network more than a dozen times, I felt as if I knew the principals already, so reading this book felt like I was at the meetings and on the set. Nice job.
Bruce Weinstein
This is just the kind of book I love: an in-depth analysis of the making of a work of art. Many years ago I said on a CNN program that "Network" looks like a documentary today, and this book explains why that's the case. Itzkoff really did his homework, and it shows.

Well done!
Brent
A well-researched, well-written, invaluable chronicle of the making of arguably the most legitimately prophetic movie ever made, with great insights into the life and mind of the brilliant Paddy Chayevsky.

If Itzkoff's book has a flaw, it's that it progressively loses steam in the third act. The book climaxes with the death of Peter Finch and his posthumously awarded Best Actor Oscar, after which it begins its long, winding descent to the end. Reading about the aftermath and lasting influence of
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Steven
Adequate overview of the making of a landmark Seventies film. There are some interesting details: e.g., George C. Scott was almost cast as deranged newscaster Howard Beale, but insisted his wife be cast as the femme fatale executive. A lot has happened since 1976 to vindicate this movie's satiric vision, but the author is very weak on analysis.
Simone

I'm teaching the film Network in class, so I bought this as an ebook and read it before class last night. It's a quick interesting read that sets both Paddy Chafesky and the making of Network in the context of the 1970s.
Mason
A well-researched, in-depth look at the making of NETWORK, one of the most prescient movies ever made. If only Chayefsky had stayed alive long enough to see his satirical predictions transformed into the bleak reality of news today.
Raphael
Some solid research. Skip the last third, apparently his editor told him to pad it out with a dull essay on how Network predicted O'Reilly, Lady Gaga, and of course, the Higgs Boson particle.
Matthew Fitch
A fascinating look at the making of the picture and the principles involved. It also succeeds in showing that it's satirical look at news bodes true today. Great book....
Brick Top
This was a good book, well written, with interesting facts and good timeline.

If you liked Network and like reading about how movies are made, this is a great book.

Tim Oldakowski
If you have an obsession for this film like I do, then this is a must read. Hell, I might read it again it was that good. All about the movie Network. Fantastic!
Jessica
The parts about the actual filming of the movie and the closing chapter on its legacy were interesting, but it could have been written a bit sharper. Dragged in a couple of places.
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“I want you people to get mad—You don’t have to organize or vote for reformers—You just have to get mad—” 0 likes
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