Making the Grades
Quiz Show reminds me of the time I was on stage with twenty other people and a popular hypnotist "made" us do ridiculous things. I wasn't hypnotized, and I would swear that none of the others with me were either. We were doing it for fame, and were pawns in the hands of the master showman, all of us too proud to ever admit we would consciously play a pretend tuba without our shirts.
Such was the case with TV game shows in the 1950s. Quiz Show illustrates how very intelligent people were coaxed into lying to an entire country. It shows how a lie starts as a small deception, but soon becomes a national scandal. But what really makes this movie worthwhile, is the inclusion of consequences for actions. The now infamous Charles Van Doren paid dearly for his short run at fame, while those that were setting him up continued with their careers.
This movie is great from many different angles. It teaches about human nature, television media literacy, and throws a little history in as well. There is no sex or violence, however the famous sexual expletive is used one time, along with a few other less offensive words, giving the movie a PG-13 rating.
Quiz Show makes us realize that by today's standards, these types of scandals would be minor. It works well at showing how far society has slipped since the fifties. From what I know, only a few characters, such as the federal investigator, have been enhanced for dramatic effect. Otherwise, Robert Redford, the producer and director of Quiz Show, has worked hard at recreating the exact scenes and lives of those involved.
Remember the trucks with the exploding gas tanks on the news just a couple of years ago? Television has one goal in mind: Get ratings to make money. Quiz Show reminds us that we don't always learn from our mistakes, and the TV network with the exploding gas tanks didn't either.