Citizen's Band (AKA Handle With Care)
August 18, 2012
Directed by Jonathan Demme. With Paul LeMat, Candy Clark,
US 1977, 35mm, color, 96 min
Jonathan Demme’s ensemble comedy imagines a group of small-town Americans who use their citizen’s-band radios to broadcast outsized, imagined personalities, and then details the comic complications as these personas clash with reality. Paramount presumably hoped that the film would ride the coattails of the 1970s fad for CB radios to box office success, but the strength of Paul Brickman’s screenplay lies in its lyrical use of the technology as a means of creating and linking characters at once outlandish and believable. After a five-year apprenticeship with Roger Corman, writing and directing action films, director Demme first revealed in Citizen’s Band the offbeat humor and Renoiresque warmth that would characterize the best of his subsequent work.