The Globe is a small, but visionary newspaper started by Phineas Mitchell, an editor recently fired by The Star. The two newspapers become enemies, and the Star's ruthless heiress Charity Hackett decides to eliminate the competition.
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When the South loses the war, Confederate veteran O'Meara goes West, joins the Sioux, takes a wife and refuses to be an American but he must choose a side when the Sioux go to war against the U.S. Army.
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In New York's 1880's newspaper district a dedicated journalist manages to set up his own paper. It is an immediate success but attracts increasing opposition from one of the bigger papers and its newspaper heiress owner. Despite the fact he rather fancies the lady the newsman perseveres with the help of the first Linotype machine, invented on his premises, while also giving a hand with getting the Statue of Liberty erected.Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Sage old reporter Josiah Davenport says this to crusading editor Phineas Mitchell, but writer/director Sam Fuller might have been speaking to himself when he wrote the line. He is clearly pining for the long-dead old days of newspapers in New York-- and with good reason, check http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/nysnp/history.htm for a brief and amazing history.
The IMDb reviewer, st-shot, who called this movie a "valentine" hit the mark. This valentine has a fair amount going for it, but it's more flawed than faithful. A newspaperman himself (ca. 1930), Fuller prided himself on the historical accuracy of "Park Row" and there is truth behind, if not in, many of the people and events alluded to in the screenplay: The base of the Statue of Liberty, which was unveiled in 1886 when the movie takes place, was indeed partly paid for by a newspaper campaign (Joseph Pulitzer's "New York World"). A Bowery bookie named Steve Brodie did claim to have jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge that same year, and survived to both acclaim and controversy. Linotype was indeed invented by German immigrant Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1886, but it wasn't for a Park Row newspaper, it was for lawyers wanting a way to get legal papers printed faster. The young political cartoonist called "Thomas Guest" is obviously a thinly veiled Thomas Nast, who would have been in his mid-40s and very famous by 1886.
Much of that cinematic license can be forgiven, because the problem isn't the lack of historical accuracy; it's Fuller's proud claim that it WAS accurate. Perhaps he was referring to the typesetting and printing processes he shows in such loving detail-- which certainly are fun and fascinating to see.
Then there's the plot, another big problem. Melodrama was Fuller's Achilles' heel (see THE NAKED KISS for Fuller at his lawless heights) and he pours it on rather thickly here-- injured towheaded kid, heroic journalists, rival editor and publisher as the Clark Kent & Lois Lane of 1886. But, while the movie is more frenetic than energetic, there's enough camera movement and odd angles to establish this firmly as a Fuller film, and therefore worth seeing. Once.
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