Medium Cool (1969)

X | 110 mins | Drama | 27 August 1969

Director:

Haskell Wexler

Writer:

Haskell Wexler

Cinematographer:

Haskell Wexler

Production Designer:

Leon Ericksen

Production Company:

H & J Pictures
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HISTORY

Filmed entirely on location in Kentucky, Minnesota, Chicago, and Washington, D. C. The working title of this film is Concrete Wilderness ... More Less

Filmed entirely on location in Kentucky, Minnesota, Chicago, and Washington, D. C. The working title of this film is Concrete Wilderness . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Chicago Reader
10 Jul 2013.
---
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1967
p. 1.
Daily Variety
19 Jun 1968
p. 1.
Daily Variety
7 Aug 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 Aug 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1968
p. 1, 6.
Daily Variety
24 Jul 1969
p. 3, 5.
Los Angeles Times
28 Oct 1968
Section F, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
6 Sep 1969
Section A, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
18 Sep 1969
Section D, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
21 Sep 1969
Section U, p. 1, 22, 26.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jan 1970
Section E, p. 8.
New York Times
28 Aug 1969
p. 46.
New York Times
31 Aug 1969
Section D, p. 1, 35.
New York Times
7 Sep 1969
Section D, p. 19.
Variety
18 Sep 1968
p. 24.
Variety
2 Jul 1969
p. 15.
Variety
16 Jul 1969
p. 1, 75.
Variety
13 Aug 1969
p. 6.
Variety
7 Jan 1970
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Ed consultant
MUSIC
Mus score
Incidental mus
SOUND
Sd mix
Sd ed
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Asst to the prod
Scr supv
Chicago cons
Gaffer
Titles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the novel The Concrete Wilderness by Jack Couffer (New York, 1967).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Merry-Go-Round," words and music by Wild Man Fisher.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Concrete Wilderness
Release Date:
27 August 1969
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 27 August 1969
Los Angeles opening: 24 September 1969
Production Date:
began 29 July 1968
Copyright Claimant:
H & J Pictures
Copyright Date:
4 August 1969
Copyright Number:
LP37075
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
X
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22150
SYNOPSIS

John Cassellis, a news cameraman for a Chicago television station, and his soundman, Gus, cover a wide spectrum of events, including the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Resurrection City in Washington, D. C. John's attitude is cool and dispassionate; he films the victim of a car crash before calling an ambulance and encounters hostility and accusations of social irresponsibility when covering a human interest story in a black neighborhood. He has a run-in with thirteen-year-old Harold Horton, whom he suspects of breaking into his car. Fleeing the parking lot, Harold drops a carrying case containing a pet pigeon. Once John realizes that the boy was not trying to rob him, he returns the case to the slum tenement where Harold lives with his mother, Eileen, a welfare recipient who moved from her West Virginia home when her husband was sent to Vietnam. Meanwhile, tension mounts in the city: war protestors plan to demonstrate during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and Chicago's police force and the Illinois National Guard prepare for a confrontation. Criticized by his superiors for shooting too much film and outraged at his television station's surrender of his footage to the FBI, John creates a row and is fired. During this period of inactivity, he devotes most of his time to Eileen and Harold, thereby ending his long affair with Ruth, a nurse. As the political convention begins, John gets a freelance assignment to cover the event. On the eve of the first session at the International Amphitheatre, Harold becomes so upset at seeing his mother and John embracing that he runs away from home. Eileen searches for him in Grant Park and is caught in a ... +


John Cassellis, a news cameraman for a Chicago television station, and his soundman, Gus, cover a wide spectrum of events, including the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Resurrection City in Washington, D. C. John's attitude is cool and dispassionate; he films the victim of a car crash before calling an ambulance and encounters hostility and accusations of social irresponsibility when covering a human interest story in a black neighborhood. He has a run-in with thirteen-year-old Harold Horton, whom he suspects of breaking into his car. Fleeing the parking lot, Harold drops a carrying case containing a pet pigeon. Once John realizes that the boy was not trying to rob him, he returns the case to the slum tenement where Harold lives with his mother, Eileen, a welfare recipient who moved from her West Virginia home when her husband was sent to Vietnam. Meanwhile, tension mounts in the city: war protestors plan to demonstrate during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and Chicago's police force and the Illinois National Guard prepare for a confrontation. Criticized by his superiors for shooting too much film and outraged at his television station's surrender of his footage to the FBI, John creates a row and is fired. During this period of inactivity, he devotes most of his time to Eileen and Harold, thereby ending his long affair with Ruth, a nurse. As the political convention begins, John gets a freelance assignment to cover the event. On the eve of the first session at the International Amphitheatre, Harold becomes so upset at seeing his mother and John embracing that he runs away from home. Eileen searches for him in Grant Park and is caught in a violent clash between demonstrators and police. Finding her in the midst of armed National Guardsmen and exploding tear gas bombs, John takes her to his car and drives her around the city, unaware that Harold has returned home. Distracted by the day's events, John loses control of the car and smashes into a tree, killing Eileen and seriously injuring himself. A passing motorist stops for a moment to photograph the accident and then drives on. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.