Park Row

Park Row

Director: Samuel Fuller

Cast: Gene Evans, Mary Welch, Bela Kovacs

     
 

In 1880s New York City, newspapers were engaged in a free-for-all competition, with the respectable practitioners such as Joseph Pulitzer leading a horde of sheets that included every kind of yellow rag imaginable. Newspaperman Phineas Mitchell (Gene Evans) is so appalled by the brand of journalism practiced by The Star, the newspaper where he works, and its publisher… See more details below

Overview

In 1880s New York City, newspapers were engaged in a free-for-all competition, with the respectable practitioners such as Joseph Pulitzer leading a horde of sheets that included every kind of yellow rag imaginable. Newspaperman Phineas Mitchell (Gene Evans) is so appalled by the brand of journalism practiced by The Star, the newspaper where he works, and its publisher, Charity Hackett (Mary Welch), that he gets himself fired. But instead of looking for another job, he decides to start up his own newspaper, The Globe, which will adhere to principals he has developed across his career. This immediately puts him on a head-to-head collision with The Star and Hackett, who scoffs at Mitchell's ideals but is frightened of his resourcefulness and ideas -- all of which combine to make the feisty little under-financed newspaper a more honest and exciting read than her own publication. And Mitchell's embrace of cutting-edge technology, such as the Linotype machine, and innovations such as by-lines and newsstands only heighten her mixed feelings of admiration and fear. When Mitchell seizes upon the Statue of Liberty, newly-delivered from France but without a base to stand on (or an appropriation from Congress for the money to build one), The Globe takes on this cause. A circulation war -- and then an all-out war -- breaks out between the two newspapers, with fraud, violence, bombings, and other mayhem visited on Mitchell's enterprise.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Before he entered the film world, Samuel Fuller was a journalist, and he never lost his respect for that profession and what it could stand for at its best. Park Row was his homage to that profession and its history in New York. A simplified and highly fictionalized re-telling of the rough-and-tumble world of New York newspapers in the 1880s, made on an astonishingly small budget (which is in evidence a little too often), all of it put up (and lost) by Fuller, Park Row has the energetic story-telling that one would hope for in a Sam Fuller film, and it has some graceful and artful touches, especially in its oft-times elegant, sweeping camera shots, which make the sometimes threadbare sets and overall production look a lot better than they should. There are also some considerable moments of preachiness, and unavoidable campiness. At times, there are parts of this film that anticipate Walt Disney's adaptations of Richard Harding Davis's "Gallagher" stories, except that there's a lot more on-screen violence here -- including a beautifully executed fight scene, in which hero Gene Evans pummels a thug almost to death at the base of a statue of Benjamin Franklin (the symbolism can be a little obvious at times) -- than would ever make its way into those productions. Evans was always an appealingly rough-hewn leading man, and Mary Welch is more than capable of embracing the ambiguity of her character, though the notion of a romance between these two seems to have been forced into the plot, coming from nowhere and going nowhere, in the hope of making the movie more appealing to general audiences. Character players George O'Hanlon, Dick Elliot, Bela Kovacs and Herbert Heyes get some of the biggest feature film roles of their respective careers here, and to some twenty-first century audiences it will be a pleasure to see even a fictionalized, inaccurate account of some of the events depicted here, from a far less cynical age -- for all of its sometimes overbearing preachiness, Park Row has a lot of energy in its narrative, and heart in its writing, which makes it unusual as a historical film, and unusually personal in its effect on audiences.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/03/2011
UPC:
0883904244516
Original Release:
1952
Source:
Mgm Mod
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:23:00
Sales rank:
66,901

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Evans Phineas Mitchell
Mary Welch Charity Hackett
Bela Kovacs Ottmar Mergenthaler
Herbert Heyes Josiah Davenport
Tina Rome Jenny O'Rourke
George O'Hanlon Steve Brodie
Forrest Taylor Charles A. Leach
Don Orlando Mr. Angelo
Neyle Morrow Thomas Guest
Dick Elliott Jeff Hudson
Stuart Randall Mr. Spiro
Dee Pollock Rusty
Hal K. Dawson Mr. Wiley
Charles Horvath Man Battered by Mitchell Against Monument
J.M. Kerrigan Dan O'Rourke

Technical Credits
Samuel Fuller Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Phil Cahn Editor
Roscoe S. Cline Special Effects
Paul Dunlap Score Composer
Theobold Holsopple Art Director
Jack E. Miller Costumes/Costume Designer
Edward Ray Robinson Set Decoration/Design
Jack Russell Cinematographer

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