Thursday, October 2 (7:30 p.m.) National Newspaper Week Double Feature
Five Star Final (Warner Bros., 1931)
Edward G. Robinson stars as a corrupt newspaper editor who uses exploitation to bolster the paper’s circulation. Nominated for an Oscar as the year’s best film, Five Star Final was a condemnation of yellow journalism. This archetypal newspaper movie was widely imitated in the 1930s and 1940s. Mervyn LeRoy directed this powerful drama, which also stars Boris Karloff, H. B. Warner and Marian Marsh.
Blessed Event (Warner Bros., 1932)
In this fast-paced newspaper comedy, Lee Tracy plays an unscrupulous gossip columnist whose free-and-easy way with “facts” lands him in hot water. Tracy’s character was based on newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell and the title is a Winchell tag line. Directed by Roy Del Ruth and featuring Dick Powell in his film debut as a popular radio singer, the film is at its best when parodying commercial radio of the era. Mary Brian, Ruth Donnelly and Allen Jenkins co-star.
Friday, October 3 (7:30 p.m.)
His Girl Friday (Columbia, 1940)
Cary Grant stars as conniving newspaper editor Walter Burns with Rosalind Russell as his number-one reporter (and ex-wife) Hildy Johnson. As Hildy attempts to quit the newspaper racket to marry her mild-mannered, mama’s boy fiancé (Ralph Bellamy), Walter convinces her to cover one last big story. Howard Hawks directed this brilliant remake of The Front Page (1931) at a breathless pace, using overlapping dialog to increase the feeling of frenzy. This quintessential screwball comedy was named to the National Film Registry in 1993. The film is packed with such character actors as Gene Lockart, Porter Hall, Roscoe Karns, Clarence Kolb, Regis Toomey, John Qualen, Helen Mack and Billy Gilbert.
Saturday, October 4 (2 p.m.)
Newsies (Disney, 1992)
Loosely based on the New York City Newsboys Strike of 1899, this musical drama stars a young Christian Bale as Jack Kelly, who organizes the “newsies” to protest a pay cut by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer (Robert Duvall). Featuring 12 original songs from composers Alan Menken and J.A.C. Redford, the film was an initial box-office flop, but later gained a cult following on home video. A successful adaptation ran for two years on Broadway in 2012. The film also stars Ann-Margret, Bill Pullman and Michael Lerner.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.