THE NETWORK NEBULA

 

                    SCRIPT            

 

                                               Scenes 18-25

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PADDY CHAYEFSKY

SIDNEY LUMET

PETER FINCH

NED BEATTY

CINDY GROVER

WILLIAM HOLDEN

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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Return to Scenes 12-17.
 
18.   INT. FIFTH FLOOR - UBS BUILDING - ELEVATOR 
       AREA  - 10:47 P.M.
 
FRANK HACKETT, Executive Senior Vice President of the
network, 41 years old, one of the new cool young breed
of management/merchandising executives, wearing a 
tuxedo -- (he had been pulled out of a dinner party in
Westchester by this unfortunate business) -- comes out
of the elevator and turns briskly into --
 
 
19.   INT. FIFTH FLOOR CORRIDOR
 
-- which is clotted with network EXECUTIVES of assorted
sizes and ages.  HACKETT, en route to Room 509, which
is clearly the humming hub of activity up here, pauses
to comment to one of the EXECUTIVES --
 
              HACKETT
       Lou, can't we clear out that
       downstairs lobby?  There must be
       a hundred people down there, every
       TV station and wire service in the
       city.  I could barely get in --
 
              LOU
       How'm I going to clear them out,
       Frank?
 
HACKETT murmurs and peels his way into --
 
 
20.   INT. ROOM 509 - EXECUTIVES' OFFICES OF THE 
       NEWS DIVISION
 
HACKETT enters the common room, off which debouch the
offices of the President of News (MAX SCHUMACHER), the
VP News Division (ROBERT MCDONOUGH), the VP Public
Relations News Division (MILTON STEINMAN), the VP Legal
Affairs News Division (WALTER GIANINI), VP Owned
Stations News (EMIL DUBROVNIK), General Manager News,
Radio (MICHAEL SANDIES) -- all of whom are here and a
number of other network EXECUTIVES.  The VP Sales (JOE
DONNELLY) is just taking the phone from the VP News
Sales (RICHMOND KETTERING) who is seated at the desk 
of the secretary for VP Public Relations News Division --
 
              DONNELLY (on phone)
       -- how many spots were wiped out? --
 
              HACKETT
              (to GIANINI, who is seated
              at another secretary's desk
              studying a typescript of
              the aborted news show)
       Anything litigable? --
 
              GIANINI
       Not so far --
 
              DONNELLY
              (on phone)
       -- We had to abort the show. Ed,
       what else could we do?  We'll
       make good, don't worry about it --
 
              HACKETT
              (to ARTHUR ZANGWILL, VP
              Standards and Practices,
              now coming out of MAX's
              office)
       Is Nelson in there?
 
              ZANGWILL
       He's talking to Wheeler.  So far,
       over nine hundred fucking phone
       calls complaining about the foul
       language --
 
              HACKETT
              (mutters)
       Shit --
 
              P.R. MAN
              (in b.g. on phone)
       -- come on, Mickey, what page
       are you putting it on?! --
 
HACKETT is already crossing into --
 
 
21.   INT. MAX'S OFFICE
 
-- which is pretty well jammed with NELSON CHANEY
(President of the network), 52, a patrician, sitting behind 
MAX's desk and on the phone, looking up to note 
HACKETT's arrival --
 
              CHANEY
              (on phone)
       Frank Hackett just walked in --
 
MILTON STEINMAN (VP Public Relations News Division),
early 50's, a rumpled, ordinarily amiable man, is
standing by the desk on the phone to someone at CBS --
 
              STEINMAN
              (on phone)
       I can't release the tape, Marty,
       we're still studying it ourselves --
 
A P.R. MAN sticks his head into the office
 
              P.R. MAN
              (calling to STEINMAN)
       ABC again, wants the tape --
 
              STEINMAN
       Tell  him to go fuck himself
              (to phone)
       And that goes for you too, Marty --
 
              HACKETT
              (to HOWARD BEALE,
              sitting on the couch)
       You're off the air as of now.
 
              CHANEY
              (extending his phone
              to HACKETT)
       He wants to talk to you --
 
              HACKETT
              (to MAX, leaning
              against a wall)
       Who's replacing Beale tomorrow?
 
              MAX
       We're flying up Snowden from
       Washington.
 
              STEINMAN
              (leaning across HACKETT
              to turn up the volume
              knob on Max's desk)
       All right, everybody hold it.
       Let's see how the other
       networks handled this --
 
He is referring to the four television monitors --
three on the wall and a large office console monitor
of UBS-TV, now blurting out their respective
commercials --
 
              THACKERAY
              (VP Stations Relations,
              lounging in the doorway)
       The ten o'clock news opened
       with it --
 
              HACKETT
              (on phone)
       Walter's drafted a statement, I
       haven't seen it yet -- I just got
       here, John, I was at a dinner party --
 
Suddenly, the faces of DAVE MARASH and ROLAND SMITH 
and CHUCK SCARBOROUGH and ROGER GRIMSBY and 
BILL BEUTEL and the UBS local news anchorman, TIM 
HALLOWAY, are on the screen.  Affable DAVE MARASH on 
the CBS monitor is saying:
 
              MARASH
              (affably)
       An unusual thing happened at one of
       our sister networks, UBS, this evening --
 
              ROGER GRIMSBY
              (almost simultaneously)
       Howard Beale, one of television's
       most esteemed newscasters --
 
              CHUCK SCARBOROUGH
       Howard Beale interrupted his network
       news program tonight to announce --
 
              HACKETT
              (mutters)
       Shit --
 
              TIM HALLOWAY
       Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
       made a forceful address before the
       United Nations General Assembly --
 
              HACKETT
              (to MAX)
       How are we handling it?
 
              MAX
       Halloway's going to make a brief
       statement at the end of the show
       to the effect Howard's been under
       great personal stress, et cetera
 
HACKETT reaches to click off the bank of monitor
screens.  They abruptly go black.
 
              HACKETT
              (on phone)
       I'll   call you back, John.
              (returns the phone to
              its cradle, regards the
              gathered EXECUTIVES)
       All right.  We've got a stockholders'
       meeting tomorrow at which we're going
       to announce the restructuring of
       management plan, and I don't want
       this grotesque incident to interfere
       with that.  I'll suggest Mr. Ruddy
       open with a short statement washing
       this whole thing off, and, you,
       Max, better have some answers in
       case some of those nuts that always
       come to stockholders' meetings --
 
              MAX
              (back to leaning
              against the wall)
       Mr. Beale has been under great
       personal and professional pressures --
 
              HACKETT
              (exploding)
       I've got some goddam surprises for
       you too, Schumacher!  I've had it
       up to here with your cruddy division
       and its annual thirty-three million
       dollar deficit! --
 
              MAX
       Keep your hands off my news division
       Frank.  We're responsible to
       corporate level, not to you.
 
              HACKETT
       We'll goddam well see about that!
 
              CHANEY
       All right, take it easy.  Right now,
       how' re we going to get Beale out of
       here?  I understand there's at least
       a hundred reporters and camera crews
 
(Editor:  Some material missing here.)
 
              HERRON
              (buzzing the projectionist)
       Diana asked if she could sit in on
       this --
 
              MAX
       Fine --
              (sits, calls to DIANA)
       How's it going?
 
DIANA shrugs, smiles.  The lights in the room go down.
A shaft of light shoots out from the projection room.
The PHONE at MAX's elbow BUZZES.  HE picks it up --
 
              MAX
              (murmurs into phone)
       Max Schumacher -- I'm glad I got
       you, John.  Listen, I got into a
       hassle with Frank Hackett last
       night over the Howard Beale thing,
       and he made a crack about the
       stockholders' meeting this afternoon.
       He said something about having
       some surprises for me.  Is there
       something going on, John, I don't
       know about? ... John, I'm counting
       on you and Mr. Ruddy to back me up
       against that son of a bitch
       Okay, see you this afternoon --
 
He hangs up, leans back, watches the documentary film
which has just begun.  ON SCREEN, a handsome black
woman in her early 30's --
 
              MAX
       Who's that, Laureen Hobbs?
 
              HERRON
       Yeah.
 
-- is sitting in a typical panel discussion grouping,
flanked by three MEN and a WOMAN, two white, two
black, all very urban guerilla, in fatigues, sun
glasses and combat boots.  MISS HOBBS looks calmly
into camera and says:
 
              LAUREEN HOBBS (ON SCREEN)
       The Communist Party believes that
       the most pressing political necessity
       today is the consolidation of the
       revolutionary, radical and democratic
       movements into a United Front --
 
The PHONE BUZZES softly.  MAX picks it up --
 
              MAX
              (murmurs into phone)
       Yeah? ... Oh, goddamit, when, Louise?
       Well, did he say anything? ...
       All right, thanks.
              (hangs up, promptly
              picks up again)
       Four-eight-oh-seven --
 
              LAUREEN HOBBS (ON SCREEN) (in b.g.)
       Repression is the response of an
       increasingly desperate, imperialist
       ruling clique.  Indeed, the entire
       apparatus of the bourgeois-democratic
       state especially its judicial systems
       and its prisons is disintegrating --
 
              MAX (on phone)
       Harry, Howard left my house about
       ten minutes ago presumably headed here.
       Let me know as soon as he gets here.
 
                     LAUREEN HOBBS (ON SCREEN) (in b.g.)
       The fascist thrust must be resisted
       in its incipient stages by the
       broadest possible coalition --
 
 
25.   INT. SCREENING ROOM 7 - TWENTY MINUTES LATER
 
Room still dark.  ON SCREEN, NUMBERED WHITE LEADER 
is rolling down --
 
              HERRON
       What we're going to see now is
       something really sensational.
       The Flagstaff Independent Bank
       in Arizona was ripped off last
       week by a terrorist group called
       the Ecumenical Liberation Army,
       and they themselves actually took
       movies of the rip-off while they
       were ripping it off.  It's in
       black and white, but wait'll
       you see it --
 
The SCREEN suddenly erupts into film of the interior
of a bank being entered in the wake of THREE MEN, two
of them black, and TWO WOMEN, one black and one 
white.  They disperse to various parts of the bank as if 
they were here on legitimate business --
 
              DIANA
       The Ecumenical Liberation Army
       -- is that the one that
       kidnapped Patty Hearst?
 
              HERRON
       No, that's the Symbionese
       Liberation Army.  This is the
       Ecumenical Liberation Army.
       They're the ones who kidnapped
       Mary Ann Gifford three weeks ago.
       There's a hell of a lot of
       liberation armies in the
       revolutionary underground and
       a lot of kidnapped heiresses.
       That's Mary Ann Gifford --
 
This last in reference to the young white woman on
screen who is lugging a shopping bag as she joins a
line at a teller's window --
 
              DIANA
       You mean, they actually shot
       this film while they were ripping
       off the bank?
 
              HERRON
       Yeah, wait'll you see it.  I
       don't know whether to edit or
       leave it raw like this.  That's the
       Great Ahmed Khan; he's the leader --
 
ON SCREEN, the film has gone out of focus a couple of
times and bounced meaninglessly around the bank and
finally settled on a large, powerful black man at one
of the desks, presumably writing out a series of
deposit slips --
 
              DIANA
       This is terrific stuff.  Where
       did you get it?
 
              HERRON
       I got everything through Laureen
       Hobbs.  She's my contact for
       all this stuff.
 
              DIANA
       I thought she was straight
       Communist Party.
 
              HERRON
       Right.  But she's trying to unify
       all the factions in the
       underground, so she knows
       everybody.
 
ON SCREEN, the CAMERA has whooshed amateurishly 
about, unfocuses and focuses again to pick up MARY ANN 
GIFFORD bending over her shopping bag and pulling out a 
Czech service submachine gun 9 Parabellum which she 
points to the ceiling and apparently fires; the FILM is 
silent, but the reactions of everyone around suggest 
clearly something was fired.  The FILM gets fragmented 
and panicky about here, as does the activity in the bank.
The PHONE at MAX's elbow BUZZES.  MAX picks it up.
 
              MAX
              (on the phone, while
              in b.g. a bank hold-
              up goes on screen)
       Yeah? ... All right, put him on --
 
                                                             Continue to Scenes 26-39.

 

 

 

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