Movie Review: 'Quiz Show'

by Rich Brooks

13 November 2004

I recently had a chance to see again a movie I had enjoyed when it first came out in 1994. Now being shown fairly frequently on "premium" cable TV channels, Robert Redford's "Quiz Show" brings to the screen the rise and fall of Charles Van Doren in the quiz-show scandals that made nationwide headlines in 1959. Since I first saw the film, I have become much more aware of the pervasive influence of jews in the entertainment business, so I watched it from a slightly different perspective this time. Although producer/director Redford would vigorously deny it, this movie is the story of how a couple of slimy, envious jews conspire to bring down a WASP who has become a national icon. It also chronicles the first crack in the television industry's public image, but of course the top jews - the network bosses -- were never officially implicated.

We know there are going to be historical distortions whenever Hymiewood attempts to depict real characters, and "Quiz Show" is no exception, even with a producer of Redford's stature. National Review writer Jeffrey Hart was a colleague at Columbia with Van Doren, and he was quite upset by Redford's portrayal of his friend. In an article written shortly after the movie first opened, he noted such obvious discrepancies in the film as coeds at Columbia in 1957 as well as more subtle distortions of characters. Be that as it may, I can accept some poetic license and do not judge a film by its historical accuracy alone. I would only note from my own vague recollection of the period that the real Charles Van Doren was not nearly as handsome and charming and suave (but also not as limp-wristed) as the character Ralph Fiennes creates. But then I don't remember watching the 21 show nearly as much as its rival $64,000 Question. The questions, incidentally -- rigged or not -- were much harder than anything seen on today's dumbed-down talmudvision.

While Fiennes is the real star of the film, two jews -- or more accurately two actors playing jewish characters -- receive billing ahead of him. The first is John Turturro in the role of Herbie Stemple, the geeky jewish contestant that Van Doren beat. Stemple is a thoroughly obnoxious character, whom even the show's jewish producers describe as "an annoying jew" and want him off the show in favor of the personable, photogenic, intellectual WASP. And, so, things were rigged from the beginning, with Stemple and then Van Doren being fed the answers to the questions which were supposedly locked up in a bank vault. Yes, it was jewish deception, but not technically any violation of the law, and -- as the jews in the movie claim -- just show business, folks. Van Doren, while clearly tempted by the money, is apparently persuaded by the rationalization that his success will spur more young people to take intellectual pursuits more seriously.

Van Doren is the quintessential WASP intellectual from a New England, Ivy League intellectual family. His father was a noted poet and professor of literature at Columbia for many years, and his mother was an author and academic in her own right. The family just reeks old money Yankee class, so it is still a puzzle to this day how "Charlie" got mixed up in this tawdry jewish quiz scandal. Father Mark Van Doren had the typical intellectual's contempt for the medium of television, and in fact did not even own a TV set until Charlie gave him one for his birthday in one of the scenes. Mark, as played by Paul Scofield, also epitomizes the type of rock-ribbed honor and integrity and disdain for money-grubbing that was once a WASP characteristic but seems so sadly lacking in today's jewed culture.

The other leading jewish character is Richard Goodwin, a congressional investigator played by Rob Morrow. Goodwin, who later became a speechwriter for Robert Kennedy and a major player in Washington politics, was fresh out of Harvard Law School at the time of the quiz scandals. He was determined to go after the television industry, but he discovered he was up against far more powerful forces than he could handle. He befriended Van Doren, but then turned on him at the insistence of his shrill jewish wife, who wanted to make Van Doren "eat his first kosher meal." There is a definite undercurrent in this film promoting the idea jewish victimhood and resentment of their perceived second-class status. In one scene where he is having lunch with Van Doren and his father at the Columbia Faculty Club, Goodwin -- remarking about the Reuben sandwich he is eating -- notes that there aren't any "Reubens" at the club, to which Charlie replies "touché."

The real villains of the film, however, are unmistakably jewish in the persons of producers Dan Enright and Albert Freeman. Enright is particularly well played by the hook-nosed David Paymer and comes across as appropriately slimy. NBC President Robert Kintner is also portrayed as an obvious jew by Alan Rich. But this is so typical of jews who want it both ways: to have all the money and power but at the same time to claim victimhood and discrimination.

In spite of his liberal political biases, Redford usually produces a quality film and "Quiz Show" is no exception. As a morality play, however, I believe it is less successful, because there is no clear cut distinction drawn between good and evil. It is, after all, "show business" and not a matter of life and death. All show business, we are reminded, is make believe. The film, indeed, closes on a downbeat note.

Charles Van Doren suffered more than any other participant in this deception. He lost not only his lucrative job with NBC but also his teaching position at Columbia. More than that, he lost his reputation, but all was not lost to him personally. He was an editor with Encyclopedia Britannica for many years and has authored a number of scholarly books, and today at 78 lives quietly on his family's estate in Connecticut. For many years TV did not air any big-money quiz shows, but of course today the scandal of the rigged questions is but a distant memory. The questions on such contemporary shows as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire are generally so easy that cheating is unnecessary.

"Quiz Show," in spite of some historical inaccuracies, is a riveting tale of an important episode in American public life. It also shows jews acting like jews, and should be viewed by Whites from that perspective. Let it also serve as a warning for us not to become entrapped, as was Charles Van Doren, by jewish values.



Visit Mr. Brooks's White Alert here.

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