Paul Newman plays a jaded disc-jockey who offers his services to WUSA, a right-wing hate station broadcasting from New Orleans. While struggling with his own apathy, he starts spreading hateful messages perpetrated by Pat Hingle, a power-mad master of WUSA. Joanne Woodward plays a working girl who arrives in town the same day as Newman and falls for the alcoholic disc-jockey. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke) and based on Robert Stone’s Best Selling Novel A Hall of Mirrors. The all-star cast includes Anthony Perkins, Don Gordon, Moses Gunn, Cloris Leachman and Laurence Harvey as a corrupt preacher. “Glory Road” sung by Neil Diamond. –Olive Films
Stuart Rosenberg (August 11, 1927 – March 15, 2007) was an American film and television director whose notable works included the movies Cool Hand Luke (1967), Voyage of the Damned (1976), The Amityville Horror (1979), and The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984).
Early life and career
Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, Rosenberg studied Irish literature at New York University in Manhattan, and began working as an apprentice film editor while in graduate school. After advancing to film editor, he then transitioned into directing in 1957 with the syndicated television series Decoy, starring Beverly Garland as an undercover police woman. It was the first police series on American television built around a female protagonist.
Over the next two years, Rosenberg directed 15 episodes of the 1958–1963 ABC police-detective series Naked City, which like Decoy was shot in New York City. Rosenberg was then hired to direct his first film, Murder, Inc. (1960), starring Peter… read more
Cynical drifter Rheinhardt (Paul Newman) wanders into New Orleans, shacks up with prostitute Geraldine (Newman's spouse Joanne Woodward) and finds work at WUSA, a radio station popular for its reactionary extremist politics. Until 2011, this 1970 film had never been released in any home format--no wonder it was so hard to find! I'd seen it just once on cable, so imagine my joy at finding the DVD; an excellent film.
Pretty tedious drama takes a long time to get where its going, only towards the end even touching on some of the complex and compelling issues it raises. A great cynical performance from Paul Newman, but its not enough to make this muddled, snail-paced effort work.
The film does take a while to gather pace, but the same could be said for countless other great films. Paul Newman and Anthony Perkins are simply beyond first rate here. Joanne Woodward evokes much sympathy for her character and Laurence Harvey has a good bit as a con man preacher. I love how the film avoids certain archetypes. For example, the hippies are just as apathetic and insensitive as Rheinhardt (as opposed to be peace-love-and-mungbeans); prostitute Geraldine is, despite her profession, probably the most trustworthy character in the film and capable of monogamy; Rainey, the gentle idealist liberal, turns out to be as unhinged as his reactionary extremist rivals, etc. It avoids cliched characters and caricatures, not to mention it has a beautiful score by Lalo Schifrin. The film has too much great going for it (and brings it all together wonderfully during the last 15 minutes) to be dismissed so easily. Stuart Rosenberg's film might be an acquired taste for some, but for me it is aces all the way.