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I like a good journalism film, and Park Row takes us back to the frothy era of newspapers trying to compete each other out of business, as a maverick newspaper man (Gene Evans) gets fired from a rag he hates and endeavors to start his own, more ethical, paper in 19th-Century New York. This is a fictional story and they throw everything at it, with the Globe essentially inventing a lot of the things we take for granted about the business, and its publisher getting into a violent war with his former employer (despite a weird romance brewing between them - I think Mary Welch manages to sell it, and it's a great shame she died so young, never having made another film). Though it's more than a hundred years out of date, so to speak, Park Row still speaks to today, not just with its concerns about how media is used to sway opinion (sometimes unjustly), but in the way it portrays cutthroat business practices. Though it has some nice, touching, Sorkin-like moments of utopian writing in it, I don't think the film ever really makes the point that unethical (Darwinist) business and journalistic truth are at odds, and that's because the Globe doesn't seem that much more ethical to me. Both papers are in it to increase circulation, it's just that one is more nefarious than the other. But I do love all the nitty-gritty details about printing presses and so forth. It's a world that feels very real. -30-
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #135 in Eureka!'s The Masters of Cinema Series
This movie ranks #340 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #698 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life