Park Row

83 minutes 2012

This neglected Samuel Fuller feature from 1952, a giddy look at New York journalism in the 1880s, was his personal favorite—he financed it himself and lost every penny. A principled cigar smoker (Gene Evans) becomes the hard-hitting editor of a new Manhattan daily, where he competes with his former employer (Mary Welch) in a grudge match loaded with sexual undertones; meanwhile a man jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge trying to become famous, the Statue of Liberty is given to the U.S. by France, and a newspaper drive raises money for its pedestal. Enthusiasm flows into every nook and cranny of this cozy movie: when violence breaks out in the cramped-looking set of the title street, the camera weaves in and out of the buildings as through they were a sports arena, in a single take. "Park Row" is repeated incessantly like a crazy mantra, and the overall fervor of this vest-pocket Citizen Kane makes journalism sound like the most exciting activity in the world.

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