This first appeared as part of a multi-part series on Filmotomy.com.
Bad Press For a Winter Romance
Diana Christensen, VP of Programming at USB, is a ruthless woman in an industry rampant with older men in Network. Like Max Schumacher, who runs the news division. When they meet, her “masculine temperament” bewitches him, and his successful longevity appeals to her. To Diana, sky-high ratings are the ultimate aphrodisiac. It’s practically all that’s ever on her mind, which plays into the least sexy love-making in film history.
Once they undress and slip into bed, Diana talks shop throughout. Bragging about how she plans to avoid federal charges regarding her on-camera exploitation of leftist guerilla terrorists (the Ecumenical Liberation Army). That she’ll take them to the Supreme Court, and garner “more press than Watergate”. She briefly shuts up to climax. But then she jabbers on again. This is her dirty talk.
Nevertheless, Max chooses Diana over Louise, his wife of twenty-five years. And in one brilliantly crafted scene, Louise dumps Max, asserting that she will not “sit at home and knit” only for him to “slink back like some penitent drunk” from his “winter romance.” Beatrice Straight’s Louise only has five minutes of screen time, but they are five thunderous minutes. And as she predicts, Max and Diana do not last. “You’re television incarnate, Diana,” he tells her. “Indifferent to suffering. Insensitive to joy.”