TV_plays_dangerous_game_with_The_Deer_Hunter

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TV_plays_dangerous_game_with_The_Deer_Hunter - TV plays dangerous game with 'The Deer Hunter'...
TV plays dangerous game with 'The Deer Hunter' "Stevey, you gotta do it! You don't do it, they gonna throw you in the pit!" Robert De Niro to John Savage in The Deer Hunter. By Howard Rosenberg Log Angeles Times HOLLYWOOD There are some half-jozen half-jozen half-jozen Russian roulette sequences in The Deer Hunter, the Academy Award-honored Award-honored Award-honored Award-honored 1978 movie that independent TV stations in Los Angeles and New York are airing on Nov. 4. Russian roulette is a recurring theme in the powerful and sensitive Vietnam drama, directed by Michael Cimino, which also has aired on cable and subscription TV. The Deer Hunter has been attacked for having an anti-Asian anti-Asian anti-Asian bias and inaccurately portraying the Vietnam War. There are no known incidents to support its depictions of American prisoners being forced to play Russian roulette while their Vietnamese captors placed bets on them. However, The Deer Hunter does effectively effectively convey the impact of war any war on the soldier and those who remain on the home front. A bigger question concerns the special characteristics of TV, an intimate medium that brings its vision of life into your living room. Is a theatrical movie no matter Commentary what its artistic merit, or absence of sexual theme automatically appropriate for home viewing? In this case, there is also a question of judgment and responsibility. For above all else, The Deer Hunter is a dangerous movie. At least 11 cases of Russian roulette shootings occured this year either shortly after or while the victim watched The Deer Hunter. Most of the victims had watched The Deer Hunter on subscription or cable TV, the rest in movie theaters. All but one of the shootings was fatal. MCA-TV MCA-TV MCA-TV offered The Deer Hunter to KCOP in Los Angeles and WOR in New York which also is airing it Nov. 4 to exploit the anticipated non-interest non-interest non-interest in election coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC after the three networks reportedly had rejected it. CBS, which had bought advance rights to air the movie, expressed a fear that a TV showing might incite some impressionable viewers to copy the Russian roulette sequences, which could not be edited out without destroying the movie. ( KCOP is planning to air the R-rated R-rated R-rated The Deer Hunter unedited. Some other independent stations also are now planning planning to air the movie. KCOP said it will show the film with an advance warning "to inform viewers discretion is advised." "I can't imagine why anyone would call this a violent movie," Evan C. Thompson, KCOP president and general manager has said. The recently formed National Coalition on Television Violence thinks that it is violent enough to launch a campaign to block it from leing presented on TV. "It's been shown to directly cause a large number of persons to murder themselves," said Dr. Thomas Radecki, the group's chairman. "It's an unsafe product If a new auto exploded and killed 10 people, that product would be taken off the market or modified." The link between violence portrayed on TV and real-life real-life real-life violence is an oft-debated oft-debated oft-debated subject among broadcasters, viewers and academics. Most studies seem inconclusive. inconclusive. In a widely publicized case in 1977, a 15-year-old 15-year-old 15-year-old 15-year-old 15-year-old Miami boy used addiction to TV violence as his defense against a first-degree first-degree first-degree murder charge. Many thought it an unsound defense and the jury found the boy guilty. But The Deer Hunter is another matter because "the type of violence it incites is so clear cut," said Radecki, a psychiatrist "Any graphic depiction of death and violence in prime time is going to cause some people to duplicate it or somehow get involved," said Dr. Michael Peck, director of youth services at the Suicide Prevention Center in Los Angeles. "But it's not a cause. No normal, stable person watches something on the screen and goes out and does it It's people who are on the brink." The dilemma has always been where to draw the line. Should program creators remove even suggestions of violence that could possibly inspire imitators to injure themselves or others? Certainly ABC's stunt-mad stunt-mad stunt-mad That's Incredible! comes dangerously dangerously close to irresponsibility. But to remove everything? What would ' TV be then? "There's a possibility you could watch Miracle on 34th btreet on Christmas night and then get depressed and walk in front of a car," Bays Andrew Wald, a senior vice president of programming for ON TV, which, along with most of the pay-TV pay-TV pay-TV industry, has presented The Deer Hunter. However, The Deer Hunter is no Miracle on 34th Street

Clipped from Arizona Republic28 Oct 1980, Tue[First Edition]Page 27

Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona)28 Oct 1980, Tue[First Edition]Page 27
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