Country:  USA
Genre:Drama, Romance
Rating:8.0  Rate
Collection:  Seen It     Wishlist 
Community: 2 Have Seen

DirectorStuart Rosenberg
Selected CastPaul Newman as Rheinhardt
 Joanne Woodward as Geraldine
 Anthony Perkins as Rainey
 Laurence Harvey as Farley
 Pat Hingle as Bingamon
 Don Gordon as Bogdanovich
 Bruce Cabot as King Wolyoe
 Cloris Leachman as Philomene
 Moses Gunn as Clotho
 Wayne Rogers as Minter
 Robert Quarry as Noonan

On DVD & Blu-ray World


WUSA - Paramount - USA (2011)

Comments and Reviews
21st Mar 2016
 Rated 8/10
"A perfectly beautiful hustle crumbles at the core."

WUSA is an establishment counter-culture product from an era in which directors were given more artistic freedom from the Hollywood system than in the past. And like so many pro-revolution offerings from that generation, cracks in the pavement are also revealed, unsimplifying what modern Hollywood now feeds us as monaural political cosmogeny.

Paul Newman is a drifter who is hired as disc-jockey and mouthpiece of an influential right-wing radio station. Joanne Woodward is his girl and Anthony Perkins is Rainey, a social worker investigating welfare statistics. After a conversation with an underground newspaper writer, Rainey learns of WUSA's outrageous agenda to end government funding of the poor.

Many one-dimensional stereotypes and rigged optics skew the portrayal of protagonists and antagonists, severely obstructing the plausibility of the story's "right wing conspiracy". That in itself is so far-fetched it's remarkable to find subverted in such a stunningly attractive canvas. The cast is nearly flawless, the dialogue rich and the cinematography opulent. Toss aside the paranoid abnormalities and take in the rare look at late-60's New Orleans, garnished with a talented cast in top form (including a tasty buffet of support players!)

Two decades later, Tim Robbins would take a similar path (through an Oliver Stone prism) with Bob Roberts -- again, very visual, but taking unfair advantage of the credulity of his audience. Unlike Robbins' diatribe, Newman delivers a sympathetic and convincing messenger with an ambivalent palette of rebellion inside his own moral core. This dichotomy is stingingly pronounced when delivering his convention speech in the third act -- a scene otherwise embellished with radically manufactured melodrama.

Despite the internal flaws, WUSA is a highly recommended experience, a technical showpiece lost in the shuffle from an overflowingly influential era. Director Stuart Rosenberg directed a number of lost gems in the 70's (Move, The Laughing Policeman, Pocket Money, The Drowning Pool -- the latter two also featuring Paul Newman), none of which could put a dent in his success with 1967's Cool Hand Luke. Notable is Lalo Schifrin's score and a good Neil Diamond song, "Glory Road". Also look for a solemn musical performance by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

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