Forgotten Films: WUSA (1970)
Released this week in 1970, it’s not hard to see how this low-key GP-Rated political film written by Robert Stone (based on his novel, “A Hall Of Mirrors”), directed by Stuart Rosenberg, produced and starring Paul Newman, slipped through the reels of memory. But not mine nor Newman’s, who considered this his most important film. I mean, look at that unique, terrific cast (including Robert Quarry and Clifton James). Lalo Schifrin provides a jaunty score (featuring Neil Diamond’s theme song), somewhat recalling his PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW done the same year. Although the film was not well-received, time has been kind to its bitches brew of character study, 70’s naturalism and symbolic portensions. Of course WUSA has been unavailable — until February when the movie angels at Olive Films release a welcome anamorphic DVD. And it’s apropos that the subject matter of WUSA deals with a powerful right-wing radio station amid its intersection of commerce, rhetoric and violence at the end of one turbulent decade and the start of another. Hey, it couldn’t happen here.