By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on July 6, 2013)
Medium Cool- The Criterion Collection Blu-ray
What Haskell Wexler’s unique 1969 drama may lack in narrative cohesion is more than made up for by its importance as a sociopolitical document. Robert Forster stars as a TV news cameraman who is fired after he complains to station brass about their willingness to help the FBI build files on political agitators via access to raw news film footage and reporter’s notes.
He drifts into a relationship with a Vietnam War widow (Verna Bloom) and her 12 year-old son. They eventually find themselves embroiled in the mayhem surrounding the 1968 Democratic Convention (in the film’s most memorable scene, the actors were actually sent in to improvise amidst one of the infamous “police riots” as it was happening). Many of the issues Wexler touches on (especially regarding media integrity and journalistic responsibility) would be extrapolated further in films like Network and Broadcast News.
Criterion’s Blu-ray sports a beautifully restored transfer, and insightful extra features.