Friday, September 16, 2011

Quiz Show

Our Netflix pick for the week was Quiz Show. It's one of the many classics that I had never seen and it had been long enough that Jim didn't mind watching it again. The film chronicles a major game show scandal of the 1950s and is considered a fact based dramatization aka a better version of the the true story.

Herbert Stempel (John Turturro) the reigning champ of the hit quiz show, Twenty One, is told to take a dive and intentionally lose to Columbia professor, Charles Van Doren to boost the show's falling ratings. Handpicked by producers for his American appeal, Van Doren (played by Ralph Fiennes, who also had major roles in Schindler's List, The English Patient, and starred as Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter Series) is launched into an unstoppable winning streak and easily becomes a national celebrity.

Meanwhile, Stempel is broke after a bookie runs out with his prize winnings, becomes overcome with anger in the shadow of Van Doren's celebrity status and initiates an investigation of the show.

I really loved the movie and would easily watched it again. I'm a huge fan of the late 50s/early 60s (bring back the 3 piece wool suit already!), love a good Jewish character, and enjoyed the innocent yet scandalous tone of the the film. It was also an Academy Award nominee for Best Picture in the mid 90s so I'm not the only one who approved.

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