CBS Special: Siskel & Ebert Special, May 21 1990
Danny Devito, David Lynch, War of the Roses, Mel Gibson, Hamlet, Kathleen Turner, Jack Valenti, Body Heat, Jewel of the Nile, Prizzi’s Honor, Crimes of Passion, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry, White Hunter Black Heart.
Roger and Gene bring up the rating system again. They talk to director Zalman King who directed Wild Orchid. King showed where the film was edited to get an R rating. Roger seemed to put King at unease in suggesting the film was pornographic. Roger talks to Jack Valenti about ratings.
6 thoughts on “CBS Special: Siskel & Ebert Special, May 21 1990”
Some pretty cool Eastwood and Turner footage not seen anywhere else.
Jack Valenti was an idiot.
It seems like to me that Siskel and Elbert should be members and presidents of the ratings board rather Jack idioti because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about it, and as for the lawyers who they’re shouldn’t be two ratings they can just take their comments and shove it because they’re solution is not better either.
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It seems like Hamlet was strictly neutral for Gibson’s career. The film wasn’t a hit but he got decent reviews. His career trajectory didn’t change from it at all. He kept doing mainstream movies for a few years after that. Obviously his big career change would come when he proved himself as a director, first with a respectable debut with Man Without a Face, then with the incredible awards success of Braveheart and ultimately with the even more astonishing box office success of Passion of the Christ. With Apocalypto and Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson would complete directing five successful films that gave him his credibility as a serious filmmaker more than the Hamlet role did.
I don’t agree that Jack Valenti was an idiot. I think people forget exactly what Valenti and the movie ratings board initially set out to do in the 1960s, which was to replace the original censorship of movies going back to the early 1930s. For decades there was NO discussion about what could be shown or heard in a movie, there was a line and you did not cross it, period. (And, incidentally, some of the greatest movies of all time were made under that censorship) ….. but by the mid-1960s the studios were dying and filmmakers wanted more freedom to follow their vision, and audiences wanted more movies like real life, and so the ratings board was created to give moviemakers more freedom to show life as it really is, and to inform audiences what kind of content the movie was going to feature. So Valenti started out to give movies MORE variety, not less…. what happened to Valenti was that his viewpoint ossified over the decades, as tends to happen as people get older, and he was unable to see that the time had come to offer audiences even greater variety than he and the board members had ever envisioned. It didn’t make him an idiot, it made him a man who was past his time, and needed to let go of the reins of power. He was hardly the first old man to suffer from that particular disease.