Thursday, January 06, 2011

Book review – “Paddy Chayefsky Scripts Vol 2 – Hospital, Network, Altered States” by Paddy Chayefsky

A reminder – if any were needed – of Chayefsky’s brilliance. These are three superb scripts, full of passion, humour, rich characters, dynamic dialogue and research (they’re all really well researched) – they could all be greenlit tomorrow. Okay, they’re not perfect – Chayefsky really had an obsession with young women falling in love with middle aged man: The Hospital, Network, Middle of the Night

The Hospital is dynamite social satire – it’s a bit more (though not much more) realistic than Network, which was more prophetic. The through line concerns a spate of mysterious deaths which are afflicting a large hospital. In a way it’s a monster film – so too is Network, with the Peter Finch character as the monster. I didn’t notice until reading this that you didn’t need the William Holden character – he doesn’t do anything except have a fling with Faye Dunaway.

I was particularly interested to read Altered States because I’ve never seen the film – shooting was an incredibly turbulent time, with Chayefksy being devastated by the result, despite having a clause which ensured not a word of his script could be changed. (He even sacked a director, only to replace him with Ken Russell.) It’s a version of the Jekyll and Hyde story about a uni professor, Jessup, determined to experiment with different states of being. Brilliantly researched, full of far out concepts, it’s something special. And what’s more it has a happy, positive ending. No middle aged-young woman romance here – although there is a professor-student one, and there’s lots of sex.

1 comment:

mannypacmania said...

the book is coool i just finishedd reading it it is cool as far as being scary