Front Page Films: Journalism in Films
“The news goes on for 24 hours a day.” -Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane
So it is no surprise that journalism and journalists have been a popular topic for film makers. There are many wonderful examples of films that center their plots on journalists. These films range from the early days of Hollywood, such as Platinum Blonde (1931), to more recent films, such as The Insider (1999) and Live from Baghdad (2002). Other films use journalists and their unique attitudes and perspectives to help move the plot, such as Thomas Mitchell’s character Diz Moore in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Babe Bennett in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and its remake Mr. Deeds (2002).
With the popularity of journalism films, many famous actors and actresses have portrayed journalists in their professional careers. Humphrey Bogart starred in Deadline USA (1952) as managing editor Ed Hutcheson, Burt Lancaster played columnist J.J. Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer portray journalists in Up, Close, and Personal (1996), and more recently, Owen Wilson portrayed journalist John Grogan in Marley and Me (2008).
As part of summer reading, the library is showing a series of journalism films starting with Citizen Kane (1941) at the Headquarters Library on June 27th, All the President’s Men (1976) at the Porter Library on July 18th, and His Girl Friday (1940) at the Salem Church Library on August 29th. All of the films will be begin at 2pm.
Citizen Kane is a cinematic masterpiece that was recognized as such by the American Film Institute, which named it as the greatest movie of all time. Citizen Kane begins at the end of publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane’s life. Kane’s dying word “Rosebud” is a mystery to reporters, who desperately comb through Kane’s life to find the meaning of the word. Flashbacks and interviews with important people throughout Kane’s life takes the audience through his life as a young, ideal man through his corrupt prime and then to his lonely end. Orson Welles, who starred in the film as Charles Foster Kane, also wrote, produced, and directed the film.
All the President’s Men is based off of the book by the same title written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. The movie tells the story of Berstein’s and Woodward’s discovery and reporting of the Watergate Scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Dustin Hoffman stars as Carl Bernstein and Robert Redford stars as Bob Woodward in All the President’s Men, which was voted as number 77 on the 10th anniversary edition of the American Film Insitute’s 100 Greatest Movies list.
Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell star in this film about an editor who tries not to lose his brightest reporter (who also happens to be his ex-wife) to an insurance salesman. Walter Burns (Grant) uses every scheme he can think of to keep his ex-wife, Hildy Johnson (Russell), from leaving the paper and marrying again, including assigning Johnson to cover the execution of a convicted murderer as her last assignment and setting up Johnson’s fiancée to get arrested numerous times.