Tunnel Vision (film)
One of the VHS covers for TunnelVision.
|Directed by||Neal Israel
Bradley R. Swirnoff
|Produced by||Joe Roth|
|Written by||Neal Israel
|Music by||Dennis Lambert
|Distributed by||World Wide Pictures|
TunnelVision (also known as Tunnel Vision) is a satirical 1976 comedy anthology film featuring Roger Bowen, Chevy Chase, John Candy, Howard Hesseman, Joe Flaherty, Laraine Newman, Betty Thomas, Phil Proctor, Al Franken, Ron Silver, Tom Davis, and Michael Overly, with appearances by noted voiceover artists Ernie Anderson and Danny Dark. It was directed by Neal Israel and Bradley R. Swirnoff and produced by Joe Roth.
Although the title is repeatedly displayed in the film as being spelled "TunnelVision," it is frequently identified as "Tunnel Vision" in home video reissues and critical reviews.
In the (then-future) year of 1985, a new television network called TunnelVision is entirely free of censorship (aided by a new Bill of Rights, written in 1983), and has thus become the most-watched channel in history. The president of TunnelVision (Proctor) is under Senate investigation led by a Senator (Hesseman) who wishes to shut down the channel due to its perceived widespread negative effects on the population. (Ironically, a genuine future U.S. Senator, Al Franken, appears in one of the segments.) The bulk of the film consists of mostly unconnected bits: commercials, shorts, and trailers for fictional movies, shown during a Congressional Oversight Committee hearing as a representative day of TunnelVision programming. At the end of the film, the committee finds in favor of TunnelVision, but the network president is shot and killed by a crazed French chef who had been a running gag throughout the movie.
Despite appearances by a raft of future comedy stars (see above), character actor Roger Bowen was the most famous actor at the time of the film’s release and was afforded top billing. His portrayal of Henry Kissinger in this film had become a familiar comic staple industry-wide.
TunnelVision programming spoofs various popular films and television shows of the day, including:
- "Remember When": A game show where contestants must answer embarrassing personal questions truthfully or receive electric shocks.
- "Young Peoples After School Press Conference": Henry Kissinger (Bowen) appears on a children's show and is upstaged by a foul-mouthed puppet.
- "Get Head!": An action-adventure drama starring a disembodied head as an undercover cop.
- "Secret Camera": A Candid Camera parody supposedly presented by the CIA.
- "Ramon and Sonja": A sitcom containing many racial and ethnic stereotypes.
- "Police Comic": A cop show starring a comedian who uses his routine to take down a sniper.
- "The Pregnant Man": A film trailer.
- "The King of TV": The president of a beleaguered network listens to pitches for terrible shows.
The closing credits contain the following disclaimer: "This film is intended as a comic parody of commercial television programming. The persons and scenes shown are presented only in that spirit and not as a serious reflection of reality."
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