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Hollywood: Don't Stop the Presses!

by Dennis King Modified: May 15, 2013 at 11:45 am •  Published: February 22, 2010
For movie lovers who in this online, digital age are still enamored of old-fashioned, ink-and-paper journalism, there’s a rich repository of classic Hollywood movies that chronicle the dicey doings of the trade’s dogged newshounds, gossip columnists, sensation-seeking editors and sappy sob-sisters.

Newspaper yarns of all stripes have been a movie staple throughout film history – dating back to the wild-and-raucous days of “The Front Page” to the grand megalomania of “Citizen Kane,” and on through the buttoned-down investigative procedures of “All the President’s Men.”

Beginning April 9, New York’s Film Forum will host a four-week festival called “The Newspaper Picture,” celebrating the good, the bad and the ugly of daily journalism. In a 43-film extravaganza highlighting some of the best films ever made about newspapering, the fest will present daily screenings along with panel discussions with several notables of the profession.

High on the roster of scheduled movies – all in 35mm prints – is: Billy Wilder’s “Ace in the Hole” with Kirk Douglas; Mervyn LeRoy’s “Five Star Final,” with Edward G. Robinson; Michael Curtiz’s “Front Page Woman,” with Bette Davis; “Deadline U.S.A.,” with Humphrey Bogart; Sam Fuller’s “Shock Corridor”; Alexander Mackendrick’s “Sweet Smell of Success,” with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis; Frank Capra’s “Meet John Doe,” with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck; Howard Hawks’ “His Girl Friday,” with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, based on Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s “The Front Page,” and Lewis Milestone’s rare, original 1931 version starring Adolphe Menjou and Pat O’Brien.

Special guests for panel discussions will include Brooke Gladstone, co-host of NPR’s “On the Media,” Randy Cohen, “The Ethicist” of The New York Times, V.A. Musetto of the New York Post and writer James Lardner, son of screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr. and grandson of humorist and old newspaperman Ring Lardner.

For Oklahoma fans who can’t quite manage a trip to New York for the festival, all featured films are available on DVD or video. Log on to www.filmforum.com for a complete list of festival offerings and organize your own at-home festival.

And in case you’re too quick to write off newspapers as cultural dinosaurs and newspaper movies as Hollywood relics, check out a couple of recent additions to newsprint-on-celluloid genre – “State of Play,” with Russell Crowe as an old-school print reporter investigating the murder of a Congressman’s mistress, and “The Soloist,” with Robert Downey, Jr. as a Los Angeles newspaper columnist who champions Jamie Foxx’s homeless violin virtuoso.

Who says newspapers are dead?

– Dennis King


by Dennis King
Movie Critic (Contributor)
King spent 31 years as an ink-stained wretch working for newspapers in Seminole, Ada, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. He holds a B.A. degree in English from the University of Central Oklahoma and for 16 years served as an adjunct instructor in journalism...
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