Classic Movie Hub (CMH)

Power of the Press

April 17, 2019 <m>(Wednesday)
Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University
Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60625 (US)

Event Details

Directed by Lew Landers • 1943

The editor of the New York Gazette experiences a crisis of conscience and prepares to renounce his tabloid's isolationist slant, but an assassin's bullet intervenes before he can speak truth to power. The Gazette is willed to one Ulysses Bradford (Guy Kibbee), a newspaper man of unusual integrity hitherto dedicated to raising the civic discourse among the good people of Hiawatha, Nebraska. He's brought to New York by Edwina "Eddie" Stephens (Gloria Dickson), the deceased editor's no-nonsense girl Friday with an agenda of her own, and immediately clashes with Griff Thompson (Lee Tracy, snarling veteran of countless pre-Code newspaper comedies), the ambitious managing editor whose quest for the scoop blinds him to larger political realities. This ink-for-brains B picture is barely over an hour and subsists on a handful of sets, but it overflows with rhetorical fireworks, righteous speechifying, and patriotic patois. Several flourishes-"Freedom is dynamite and has to be handled with care!"-are instantly identifiable as the knuckleheaded Americanisms of screenwriter Samuel Fuller, who submitted a treatment for Power of the Press before enlisting in the Army; the finished film adds topical references to Himmler and fifth column factions, but it stands beside Park Row as a stirring tribute to journalism's place in a democratic society, complete with a prescient denunciation of "fake news." (KW)

64 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory

Introduced by Chicago Tribune columnist and WGN Radio host Rick Kogan

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