Samuel Fuller’s 1952 film, Park Row is often regarded as one of the great ‘Newspaper Movies’. The film, set in the 1880s, sees Gene Evans star as an idealistic journalist who sets up his own newspaper, only to face the wrath of Mary Welch’s established rag.
Fuller’s film is short (it clocks in at a little over 80 minutes), but it packs a powerful punch, rattling through a lot of information about the free press and newspaper history during its running time. It’s also impressively shot by cinematographer Jack Russell, making great use of one (impressive) central set and tracking shots. Paul Dunolp’s score is also strong and emotive – the perfect accompaniment to such a tale.
Evans is great in the role of Phineas Mitchell, the journalist turned Editor, who wants to change the face of newspaper journalism, while Herbert Heyes offers strong support as Josiah Davenport, an aging reporter who becomes Mitchell’s confidant. If the film has one flaw, it’s that the love story between Evans and Welch is never fully developed, coming across as a plot device rather than an organic part of the story. Samuel Fuller may be best known for his war movies, but Park Row deserves to be seen, especially now in a time when the traditional established press is coming under so much scrutiny and falling sales.
This Masters of Cinema release features an effects and music only track, an interesting 20 minute interview with film historian Bill Krohn, a brief chat with Christine Fuller and a trailer. A solid package.