Today we give a shout out to all those budding scoops out there–the students in the Journalism Department! Now when reporting the news, a journalist is supposed to be like Detective Friday on the classic cop show Dragnet: you’re supposed to want “just the facts ma’am”. But here at Krasker, we have a collection of feature films set in the world of journalism that may just teach you a thing or two–and some of them will leave you rolling on the floor with laughter! But whether it’s drama or comedy, these films are sure to “hook” you in from the word go!
THE FRONT PAGE (1931) Directed by Lewis Milestone, this is the first film adaptation of the hit Broadway play about a newspaper editor and his ace reporter who battle each other while fighting civic corruption in Chicago, each in pursuit of an exclusive story with an escaped inmate from death row. The Front Page marks film favorite Pat O’Brien’s screen debut and co-stars such classic stars of stage and screen as Adolphe Menjou & Edward Everett Horton.
NOTHING SACRED (1937) The undisputed Queen of Screwball Comedy Carole Lombard shines in this tale of a small-town girl who thinks she is dying of a rare disease–by the time she discovers there’s been a misdiagnosis, she’s already been made “The Sweetheart of New York City” due to a wily reporter’s publicity stunt. Fredric March plays the newsman who falls for Lombard whilst trying to get her out of this journalistic jam. An engaging satire of the press’s power as “star maker,” Nothing Sacred features the witty direction of William Wellman.
HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940) One of the all-time great screw-ball comedies of Hollywood’s Golden Age, His Girl Friday follows an ace lady reporter and her slick city editor–who just happens to be her ex-husband–as they put their “noses for news” together in the hope of getting an unjustly condemned man off death row. Directed by Howard Hawks and showcasing the irresistible team of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell at their sparkling best, His Girl Friday is also an inventive reworking of the famous newsie play The Front Page (The original was about two male reporters–friends only! See above.)
ACE IN THE HOLE (1951) In Billy Wilder’s classic, Kirk Douglas give a fierce performance as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter caught in dead-end Albuquerque who happens upon the story of a lifetime–and will do anything to ensure he gets the scoop.
THE FRONT PAGE (1974) Before you groan, “Oh no, not another remake!” let me tell you this gem has Billy Wilder directing one of the greatest comedic film duos of all time: Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Now, try to beat that! The stellar supporting cast includes Carol Burnett, Susan Sarandon, Vincent Gardenia and Charles Durning.
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (1976) Okay, now it’s time to really get serious: All the President’s Men chronicles reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s landmark investigation into the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover up by the Nixon Administration. Based on their best-selling book, this film inspired a generation of journalists and takes a riveting look at the 4th Estate’s potential roles as “muckrakers” and political power players. It’s also a darn good nail-biting mystery at times. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman star as the famous pair of newshounds. Jason Robards co-stars. Directed by acclaimed director Alan J. Pakula.
ABSENCE OF MALICE (1981) Paul Newman and Sally Field give powerhouse performances in director Sydney Pollack’s dissection of journalistic ethics: Michael Gallagher, a legitimate business man, reads in the paper that he is the subject of a criminal investigation. Suddenly, everything he has ever worked for is in jeopardy. He confronts the author, Megan Carter (Sally Field), a relentless investigative reporter who may have been playing fast and loose with sussing out her sources. With Gallagher’s life hanging in the balance, the two potential adversaries join forces to uncover the truth.
BROADCAST NEWS (1987) Forget Morning Glory, Broadcast News was there first! James L. Brooks’s laugh-out-loud look at the personal and professional politics on a television news program still packs a punch. Featuring stellar performances by William Hurt, Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks. Keep your eyes open for a young Joan Cusack in a scene-stealing supporting role.
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK (2005) Actor George Clooney steps behind the camera to direct this black-and-white paean to Edward R. Murrow’s brand of “morally courageous” journalism during the dark days of the McCarthy Era, depicting the controversial steps the famed newsman took to question Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist tactics. David Strathairn brings Murrow to bold life in a mesmerizing performance. Clooney co-stars as Fred Friendly, Murrow’s producer and confidant.
Please Note: Since this post was first published, Krasker has moved! Current BU Students, Staff and Faculty can watch films at our new facility, located at 771 Commonwealth Avenue in Mugar Library, Basement Level. Krasker is usually open for screening during regular library hours, however patrons wishing to view materials outside of 9am-5pm, M-F, are encouraged to call ahead at 617-353-8112.