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With this 1971 film, writer Paddy Chayefsky developed his technique of twisting the slash-and-burn strategies of black comedy into conventional moral judgments—a style (Network) that uses shock to reassure. George C. Scott is a senior surgeon who can't understand why all the patients in his hospital are dying; Diana Rigg is his public-relations director. Even with a few trenchant and grotesque episodes in the screenplay, the direction of Arthur Hiller (Making Love) ensures that the comedy plays more like Archie Bunker than Joe Orton. With Barnard Hughes, Nancy Marchand, and Richard Dysart.

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