September 23, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Quiz Show (PG-13) Robert Redford’s richly entertaining dramatization of the quiz-show scandals of 1958. Working from a superb script by Paul Attanasio, Redford has caught the way a show like Twenty-One offered a carny-barker version of the American Dream. When it turned out that the show was rigged, it was the folks at home-and not just the network honchos-who were shown to be living a false dream. John Turturro does his most mesmerizing acting yet as Herbie Stempel, the dark, angry, strangely witty schlemiel who ended up blowing the whistle on NBC. As Charles Van Doren, the sleek Columbia English professor who succeeded Stempel as champion, Ralph Fiennes is an ambiguous light charmer, fascinating in his very opaqueness. What’s most resonant about the movie is the way its investigation into media corruption is rooted in the cultural tensions between Jews and WASPs in the late ’50s. In Redford’s hands, what might have been a straight-ahead parable of American greed feels more like a fall from grace. A ( 240, Sept. 16)

type
Movie
Genre
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
120 minutes
director
Cast
Rob Morrow,
Paul Scofield,
Timothy Busfield,
David Paymer,
Studio
Buena Vista Pictures
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