A once popular actress, now a former shell of herself, mistakes a radio broadcast of Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds for a real news report in The Broadcast.
Set in the 1930s, Karl Huber’s The Broadcast is an interesting film made on a very modest budget. Like many independent productions, The Broadcast is shown in black and white, which was obviously Huber’s decision in order to capture the films of that decade, and it was a wise choice.
When the production of War of the Worlds was first broadcast on the radio, many listeners accidentally mistook the play for a real news report and a pandemic broke out. Silly people. You’d have thought that the mention of UFOs and aliens would have given them a big enough hint that War of the Worlds was a work of fiction, albeit a brilliant one.
The Broadcast starts off with a montage of radio reports regarding an actress called Clara Fisher and how she went from being the darling of Hollywood to an actress nobody wanted to hire. Clara (played by Anja Akstin) is now a recluse suffering from agoraphobia. The bills are mounting up, and she is in real danger of losing her Hollywood home, and if that wasn’t enough, there is also a serial killer on the loose who preys on single women, dubbed “The Cat Killer”.
For the most part, The Broadcast is a well-acted film with some great lensing in many parts. It was a slow burn to begin with but once the radio broadcast began, I was hooked. The writing was great and I really do love the premise of the movie.
If I did have one gripe, it would be in the production design – it didn’t scream 1930’s to me and I wouldn’t have known the film was set then if I wasn’t told via an onscreen title. Managing to get the look of the 1930s correct with décor, costumes and make-up does cost money though, and that is something the budget didn’t have. So with the lack of funds, Huber and co still did well to power through.
Everything else regarding the film was really well-done; the score, the editing, the direction – it all went together to make a good independent film, and one that I am happy to have watched.