Reviewed by: Ken James
|Featuring||John Turturro, Rob Morrow, Ralph Fiennes, Paul Scofield|
“Jeopardy,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Family Feud”—these are the televised game shows of our generation. But back in the early days of TV, other games were just as popular. “Twenty-One” was one such program. With millions of viewers in homes across America, addicted families planned their evenings around it. Unfortunately, unscrupulous producers and greedy contestants led “Twenty-One” into mire and controversy. “Quiz Show” is the true story of these events.
The acting by leads John Turturro as Herbie Stempel, Rob Morrow as Dick Goodwin, and Ralph Fiennes as Charles Van Doren is nothing short of excellent. They are convincing, as are others in “Quiz Show”. The story, while a bit tame and slow, is of interest due to the fact that what we are viewing is based on a true story surrounding NBC. Millions of American viewers had the wool pulled over their eyes on a regular basis, and no one had the slightest idea… until Herbie Stempel tries to put it all out in the open. He is dismissed by most as a disgruntled liar until Dick Goodwin, a government investigator, begins to dig deep and find truth to his allegations. Reigning game show champion contestant Charles Van Doren (a well-liked professor from a wealthy family) and various NBC personnel are unwilling to admit any deception, however. It’s up to Dick to find the answers.
As the story unfolds we are led from fiction to fact. But one of the weaknesses of “Quiz Show” is how long it takes to get to the bottom of it. At 2 hours and 13 minutes, one can’t help but hope the conclusion comes quickly. Eventually it does, but the investigation should have been edited more tightly. There is some profanity present, but no nudity or sexual situations. Overall—not too bad. Perhaps best for those who enjoy courtroom-style dramas.