Park Row (1952)Phineas:
He was tried by your paper.Charity:
He was tried by a jury.Phineas:
You sprung the trap.Charity:
I simply broke the story.Phineas:
The story broke his neck.Charity:
What was Charles Mott to you?Phineas:
Nothing. I just don't like trial by a newspaper
Now that's a goddamn movie.
I've been having an exceptionally good run of Discoveries this year. This makes #18, and the best of the bunch. Until recently I'd never heard of it and I didn't recognize any of the cast, but they are an excellent ensemble. The dialogue is like a two-fisted version of an Aaron Sorkin script, and while Fuller uses long takes to give the story the feel of theater, it's also his most cinematic work, with some amazing moments of Noir lighting, sound and camera movement that probably had an effect on Martin Scorsese.
"Escort this wench back to her slaughterhouse before I throw her out of here right on her front page."
I watched the film three times, thanks to an 83-minute run time, my desire to try and get more out of the script and wanting to show it to Mrs. 1SO. (She loved it too.) Much as I love the script, it's also my biggest reservation. Fuller's tabloid dialogue sometimes obscures the dramatic meat, and he's so excited to show us how a newspaper business is run that he sometimes forgets to slow down a little and actually show us. Like with Wall Street, I'm not able to follow everything, but I'm confident the people who made the film know what they're talking about. So... I watched it three times already, and I did catch new things with each viewing.
Gene Evans plays the blustery Phineas Mitchell, who brags about one day owning the best newspaper on Park Row. He's given his chance, but there's a personal rivalry with the leading newspaper, run by Charity Hackett (Mary Welch). The two have a repulsion/attraction that sometimes feels strained because there's such venom in the words between them. I had just watched Evans in the middling Fixed Bayonets, and he was a standout of that ensemble but this is on a whole other level, and he won't go unnoticed by me again.
"It's good makeup, Miss Hackett. Nice form, nice balance. Pretty as a perfect front page.
But you remind me of the obituary column."
This is Mary Welch's only feature, but she's just as remarkable. She has a certain look like no other actor I've seen, and is able to change her appearance to suit the scene, cold and hard one moment, young and beaming the next. It makes her a perfect femme fatale because you can see the trouble but also understand she's someone who knows how to get what they want. Rating: ★ ★ ★ - Very Good