THE NETWORK NEBULA

 

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PADDY CHAYEFSKY

SIDNEY LUMET

PETER FINCH

NED BEATTY

CINDY GROVER

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FAYE DUNNAWAY

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NETWORK SCRIPT

Scenes 1-2

Scenes 3-11

Scenes 12-17

Scenes 18-25

Scenes 26-39

Scenes 40-46

Scenes 47-59

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NETWORK

 (1976)

by Paddy Chayefsky.
Revised, January 14, 1976.

(More info about this movie on IMDb.com)

THE PLAYERS
(Major Political*)

Peter Finch                 Howard Beale

Ned Beatty                 Arthur Jensen

William Holden            Max Schumacher

Robert Duvall              Frank Hackett

Cindy Grover              Caroline Schumacher

Marlene Warfield         Laureen Hobbs

Faye Dunnaway          Diana Christensen

Arthur Burghardt        Great Ahmed Kahn

Kathy Cronkite            Mary Ann Gifford

(* NB - You will note that I -- for good and sufficient reasons which will be published on request if anyone is really interested -- have changed the usual order of reporting the acting hierarchy.)

 
OPENING SCENES 
 
FADE IN: 
 
1.     BLACK SCREEN
 
         			     NARRATOR
    		   This story is about Howard Beale 
   		   who was the network news anchorman
     		   on UBS-TV --
 
A BANK OF FOUR COLOR TELEVISION ON MONITORS
 
It is 7:14 P.M., Monday, September 22, 1975, and we are 
watching the network news programs on CBS, NBC, ABC 
and UBS-TV, the network of our story.  The AUDIO is OFF; 
and head shots of WALTER CRONKITE, JOHN CHANCELLOR,
HOWARD K. SMITH and HARRY REASONER, and of course, 
the anchorman of our network, HOWARD BEALE, silently 
flit and flicker across the four television screens, 
interspersed with the news of the day-- President Ford's 
new Energy Program, a hearing on Patty Hearst's bail, truce 
violations in Beirut, busing trouble in Boston....  
NARRATION continues OVER --
 
            		  NARRATOR
	-- in his time, Howard Beale had been a mandarin 
	of television, the        grand old man of news, with 
	a HUT rating of 16 and a 28 audience share --
 
CAMERA MOVES IN to isolate HOWARD BEALE, who is
everything an anchorman should be -- 58 years old silver-
haired, magisterial, dignified to the point of divinity.  
NARRATION continues OVER --
 
              		NARRATOR
	-- in 1969, however, he fell to a 22 share, and, 
	by 1972, he was        down to a 15 share.  In 
	1973, his wife died, and he was left a childless 
	widower with an 8 rating and a 12 share.  He 
	became morose and isolated, began to drink
           heavily, and, on September 22, 1975, he was 
	fired, effective in two weeks.  The news was 
	broken to him by Max Schumacher --
 
 
2.     EXT. 5TH AVE. SOUTH OF 57TH STREET - NIGHT
 
11:30 P.M.  The area is deserted except for a few
STROLLERS window-shopping the department stores. And
way down near 55th Street, TWO roaring drunk middle-aged
men, HOWARD BEALE and MAX SCHUMACHER, reeling along
and hooting it up.  NARRATION continues OVER --
 
			NARRATOR
       -- who was president of the News Division at UBS and
	an old friend. The two men got properly pissed --
 
CLOSER SHOT of HOWARD and MAX (who is a craggy, 
lumbering, rough-hewn, 51-year-old man), thoroughly 
plastered and on a drunken laughing jag --
 
                                   HOWARD
                       (clutching the corner mailbox to keep from 
                       falling)
	When was this?
 
			MAX
	1951 --
 
			HOWARD
	I was at CBS with Ed Murrow in 1951.  Didn't you join 
	Murrow in 1951? --
 
			MAX
	Must've been 1950 then.  I was at NBC.  Morning News. 
 	Associate producer.  I was a kid, twenty-six years old.  
	Anyway, they were building the lower level on the
	George Washington Bridge, and we were doing a remote 
	there.  Except nobody told me! --
 
For some reason, this knocks them out.  HOWARD, wheezing 
with suppressed laughter, clutches the mailbox.  MAX has to 
shout to get the rest of the story out --
 
			MAX
	-- ten after seven in the morning -- I get a call -- 
	"Where the hell are you? -- You're supposed to be on the
	George Washington Bridge!" -- I jump out of bed -- throw 
	my raincoat over my pajamas -- run down the stairs -- I 
	get out in the street -- I flag a cab -- I jump in -- I say:
	 "Take me to the middle of the George Washington 
	Bridge!" --
 
It's too much again.  The TWO MEN dissolve into silent wheezing 
spasms of laughter --
 
 			MAX
              (tears streaming down his cheeks)
 	-- the driver turns around -- he says -- don't do it, buddy --
              (so weak now he can barely talk)
	-- he says -- you're a young man -- you got your whole life 
	ahead of you --
 
He can't go on.  He stomps around on the sidewalk. HOWARD 
clutches the mailbox.
 
 
 

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          Page last modified: 09/20/2012

   

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