Saturday, March 15, 2008

Medium Cool

Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool, shot in 1968 and released the following year, is a complex film with a simple story.

Wexler's chief protagonist is John Cassellis, a punchy and insensitive Chicago television news cameraman (he calls an ambulance for an injured crash victim only after photographing her first) who appears totally oblivious to the responsibilities his profession entails, a man who proclaims to the world, "Jesus, I love to shoot film."

But when Cassellis discovers that his boss has been showing the station's out-takes to the FBI he expresses genuine disgust and is promptly fired.

In the meantime, Cassellis has befriended the pigeon-obsessed Harold, a young boy newly arrived in the city from Appalachian West Virginia and eventually falls for Eileen, the boy's mother (played by Verna Bloom) whose husband has died in Vietnam.

When Harold disappears one evening, the film's memorable climax has Eileen scrambling through the crowds of protestors and police at Chicago's Democratic National Convention as she searches for her child.

To learn more about this film, click here. The above synopsis of the film is taken from here.

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