Saturday, May 7, 2011

Power of the Press

(1943, US, 64min, b/w)
d Lew Landers p Leon Barsha sc Samuel Fuller ph John Stumar ed Mel Thorsen ad Lionel Banks m Paul Sawtell cast Guy Kibbee, Lee Tracy, Gloria Dickson, Otto Kruger, Victor Jory

More fervently even than Park Row, Fuller’s script makes an impassioned case for the ideals of honest American journalism in murky international times. A New York publisher is murdered, leaving his paper to an idealistic old small-town friend who, with the help of the bright plucky secretary and hardnosed managing editor, takes on the suavely dastardly co-owner. The latter’s motives beyond personal gain are a muddle of isolationism, general bigotry and even communism but the battle lines are as clearly drawn as in a punchy leader (truth and the little people vs manipulation, self-interest and anything that might aid the Nazis). Landers’ direction is occasionally eccentric and the repeated sermonising saps both character and vitality, but the impassioned moral outrage is invigorating.

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