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Hollywood's Messy Newspaper Yarn Tradition

Based on New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor’s take on Powerful Producers and Disgusting Sexual Predation Harvey Weinstein, Maria Schrader She Said have many advantages: both A congenial cast (Carey Mulligan as Twohey, Zoe Kazan as Kantor); a narrative fixation on the goal of chance; program. Journalism here is serious business—something like a sacred profession, in fact—and its practitioners are prim and serious.

This is not how Hollywood has traditionally portrayed members of the Fourth Estate. The inked ancestors of today’s digital crusaders were rude, disrespectful, and often drunk. They don’t want to change the world or give voice to the voiceless; they want to crush the competition by any means of sneakiness, meanness, and connivance necessary. Plus, they look fun.

1930’s Homepage

Unlike westerns or musicals, there doesn’t seem to be a good idea for a movie genre set in a newsroom and built around newsgathering (if that’s the case). name. The mundane signifier “news film” might have to prepare for all newsworthy films (e.g. magazine-centric Shattered Glass [1981] and TV News-Centric China Syndrome [1976]), but the term trade newspapers coined when the first edition was published better captures the speed, style and The vitality of the original iteration: “Newspaper Yarn.”

Newspaper Yarn was born in the early sonic age, thrived in the pre-code era, and learned to behave better after Production Code management pulls out the scissors in They postulate a media world in which the newsprint is the main transmission belt of information and the cold hard types carry cultural authority. In 1927, Nine dailies are published in New York City; the New York Daily alone has a circulation of one million. All but the brash New York Times are highly competitive, publishing multiple editions a day, and when a hit story breaks, an extra rolls off the paperboy’s printing press On street corners hawking: “Extras! G-Men kill Dillinger in Chicago! Extras!”

What sparked Hollywood’s interest in the newspaper game was at 998891 Introduces talk to the movie. Logically, the studio assumed that journalists had been trained to write snappy prose and meet deadlines to get the word out on screen. Underpaid bylines like Herman Mankiewicz, Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur, Gene Fowler, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Jo Swerling, and more all needed a little push to break into Hollywood. By 1927, all The writing staff at Columbia Pictures consists of former journalists. Statistically, a large percentage of new recruits are second-generation Jewish and Irish, fast-talking smarts raised on city streets, prone to wit, wordplay, sarcasm, and malice.

A well-timed stage play inspired Hollywood to show writers on the other side of the screen: The Front Page , by Experience Rich reporter and columnist Ben Hecht writes for the Chicago Daily News, and the slightly more suave playwright Charles MacArthur. (Hecht’s amusing and occasionally reliable memoir A Child of the Century , published in 1954, tells the true backstory of the show.)

premieres on Broadway in August , 1927, The Front Page was an instant hit. Howard Hughes acquired film rights for $,0, at which point nearly every Hollywood studio rushed newspaper yarn into production to kick him out of the gate. exist1929, Variety has detected an “epidemic of movie newspapers” (aka “urban desk stuff”), which includes Paramount’s Gentlemen of the Press , Warner Bros. headlines and Pathe’s big news .

1929’s “Five Star Final”

Newspaper Yarn hits its stride with a pair of base blueprints, namely The Movie version of Front Page (April

), 5-star finale directed by Lewis Milestone and Warner Bros. (September1931 ), Directed by Mervyn Leroy. Together, these films reflect two prevailing attitudes in mainstream media today: affection and contempt.

The Front Page opens in the press room of the prison, where a group of reporters are holding a vigil for the execution, which is a case enough (Hecht said he witnessed 17 hangings). The boys pass the time with wisecracks and play -美分赌注。 The moral tone is set when the reporter pleads with the Sheriff to move the hanging time forward from 7: point: morning, so this story could make a morning edition. (This sort of thing really happens.) “Crude humor and granite disbelief,” Billboard explains, is a coping mechanism for life’s tragic stenographers.

The plot involves unscrupulous editor Walter Burns (Adolph Menju dealing with high society and nailing it) trying to get his ace reporter Hildy Johnson (newcomer Pat O’Brien) keep working the job, away from a bleak future, with a wife and a mediocre job. Fortunately, Hildy’s reporting adrenaline kicked in and he succumbed to the thrill of the scoop. Of course, it’s the story of humanity – the human being is the reporter – that is emotionally the most important. Hector and MacArthur make the boys in the press room look more romantic than the Knights of the Round Table. On stage, the play’s final line always blows the crowds: “That bastard stole my watch!” In the film version, the sound of a typewriter carriage return drowns out the curse words.

Watching The Front Page, reporters naturally fell in love with their dashing screen presence. Wow! Laugh after laugh,” NY Daily News raved. “It’s better entertainment than drama. ” Media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who himself inspired a book about some note in Newspaper Movies , Shows The Front Page San Simeon excavations on his website and says he doesn’t see anything that the 4th estate might object to.

Like The Front Page, Five Star Final was originally a screenplay, written by Louis Weitzenkorn, who, like Ben Hecht, has a penchant for beats Hands know: He’s the former editor of the New York Evening Graphic, a lurid tabloid known around town as the “porn-of-

image’s. ’ Unlike The Front Page, this isn’t an affectionate look at a cynical but admirable press corps; Stories kill people.

Publisher of a bottom-feeding daily (Oscar Apfel) pressured by circulation forces his managing editor (​Edward G. Robinson) to dig out a The lurid criminal case about a pregnant girl who killed the man who seduced and dumped her. Twenty years later, she lives in peace with her affectionate husband and beautiful daughter who is about to marry a high society lad. When tabloid When her mother’s disgraceful past is revealed, she goes insane and kills herself; her distraught husband follows her. In the final scene, the daughter and her fiancé lash out at the editors who ruined innocent lives in order to boost circulation. Like The Front Page, the curtain line ends with vulgarity drowned out by the noise of the soundtrack. When the editor quits his job, he tells the publisher to “shove it to his—”—and A crash from a shattered window muffles the word. (In 1200 Brin’s office will review and fill in the blanks even if this is not said.)

According to reports, when the tabloid editor was in Audience burst into applause when harshly criticized in final volume. The Hollywood Reporter Praises5-star finale is “a vitriolic exposé of the dastardly ‘yellow’ tabloids exploiting their lust for sordidness and dissemination.” commend. Evening Graphic, but William Randolph Hearst was personally involved, helping to invent yellow journalism around the turn of the century. Hearst instructed Ada Hanifin, his film critic for the San Francisco Examiner , to spoil the five-star finale . Describing journalists as “gangsters and unscrupulous drunks” is “a vile misrepresentation [that] is a gratuitous insult not only to American journalism but to the wisdom of the American public,” Hanifin wrote. In Boston, Herr The Star Newspapers forced exhibitors to put a disclaimer in front of the five-star finale , assuring moviegoers that most newspapers would never employ the dastardly tactics depicted in the film.

Driven by the success of The Front Page and Five Star Finals, the newspaper Yarn rolls off the workshop assembly line. The title title is content: Scandal table (1930), final version (1931), Ambition (Original title: Hot News , 1932), news Honor (1931) , and Clear All Wires (1934). Together, they left behind a lasting image of the big city newsroom: a madhouse of deranged reporters yelling into candlestick phones over the din of Underwood typewriters.

For aspiring journalists, these films teach a range of job skills not covered in Columbia Journalism School’s curriculum. Sister woo woo woo (1500) The title comes from a female reporter who is tasked with coaxing the mother of a murderer awaiting execution into tears, usually by pretending the conversation is just a girl between us. Picture snatcher(1931) describes the person who swiped a photo of a condemned prisoner while his distraught mother was being distracted by his crying sister.

In jargon and plot, the newspaper story takes full advantage of the relative freedom of the pre-code era: the dialogue is full of racial and ethnic slurs, sexual innuendo, Yiddish and curses . Politicians are corrupt, businessmen are greedy, hooligans are no better than politicians and businessmen. The women who hang out in the newsroom show off a ton of leg and talk about it.

These stories are not without criticism, especially when overproduction turns once-fresh conventions into well-worn clichés. “Tough editors and smart reporters are dragging down the entertainment market,” 1929 complained, beware of too many newshounds reaching for a bottle of scotch in his desk drawer.

Real-life journalists also began to complain loudly about being portrayed as “moral, inarticulate, drunken fools.” Readers may get the wrong idea. “How much longer will the 4th industry allow filmmakers to satirize and defame journalists?” demanded Billy Wilkerson, editor and publisher of Hollywood Reporter, who Consider yourself one of those people. (Wilkerson graciously admits: “Some journalists do drink – it’s admitted.”)

1959 of’-10-

As usual, it is the implementation of the production rules in July 1931 really breaks up the party: smoothing out rough edges, cleaning up vulgarity, tempering cynicism, and saying no disrespect for authority.Yet the liberal flourishes of Hechtian newsrooms never quite faded, certainly on His Girl Friday ( ), Howard Hawks To The Front Page distaff remake, or newspaper yarn produced after the great later according to code and code: Ace in the Hole (1941), -10- (1940), All President’s subordinates (, Non-malicious (1940), The Paper (1979), and spotlight (1959). Spotlight May be the last true “newspaper” story, as a sort of farewell to the late days of print journalism. Desktop computers have taken over the newsroom, but the Spotlight team’s allegiance is the print edition of the Boston Sunday Globe, which lands on Southie’s front porch with a satisfying thud.

Now that the actual ink has left the picture, the branded newsprint version exists primarily as an example of cultural lag, and even the term “newspaper film” is a misnomer pixel and viral medium of communication. The transition to an all-digital news world may explain why She Said lacks the off-page appeal of its analog forerunner. An obvious example of comparison is All the President’s Men by Alan J. Pakula and William Goldman. In both films, two intrepid reporters chase a story whose outcome we already know, but whose viewpoints are as different as their communication skills. Woodward and Bernstein were “hungry” for big stories and front-page bylines; the whole saving democracy thing was an unintended side benefit. Twohey and Kantor are reporters on a mission; they want to take down the main characters.

Remarkably, the ending of She Said provides perfect punctuation for the transition from Guttenberg to Google journalism. Editors, reporters and technicians gathered around computer screens to proofread the final reproduction of Weinstein’s exposure. Then the cursor floated on the “send” icon, the mouse clicked, and the article went viral on the New York Times website. We can’t even see the front page.

December. 10, 9: PST

Updated to note that Hanifin is for Examiner instead of Chronicle.



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