Park Row (film)
|Directed by||Samuel Fuller|
|Produced by||Samuel Fuller|
|Written by||Samuel Fuller|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Release date(s)||August 12, 1952|
|Running time||83 min.|
Park Row is a 1952 drama film starring Gene Evans as a New York City journalist who founds a new type of newspaper and Mary Welch as the established publisher who opposes him. It was written, directed, produced and financed by Samuel Fuller, himself a New York reporter prior to turning to filmmaking. It was his favorite film, though it did not do well at the box office.
The title refers to the street in Manhattan where most of New York City's newspapers were located.
In 1886, reporter Phineas Mitchell (Gene Evans) is fired from The Star newspaper for criticizing its methods and philosophy. When his friends stand up for him, they too are discharged. As the newly unemployed men are drowning their sorrows in a bar, Steve Brodie (George O'Hanlon) rushes in, claiming to have survived a jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and insisting that Mitchell write an article about it and make him famous. Mitchell tells him he no longer has a newspaper job.
Then acquaintance Charles A. Leach (Forrest Taylor) tells Mitchell that he had always dreamed of going into journalism. Leach makes a startling proposition: that they become partners and launch a new newspaper. Leach has a printing press, vacant offices and enough money to get started. Mitchell accepts, hires his friends on the spot, including aged but veteran reporter Josiah Davenport (Herbert Heyes) and eager youngster Rusty. He decides to name the newspaper The Globe. When a policeman comes looking for Brodie, Mitchell drags the hiding fugitive out from behind the bar. Now Mitchell has the front page story for the first issue.
Charity Hackett (Mary Welch), the young, ruthless publisher of The Star, at first dismisses her new rival, but soon becomes concerned. Mitchell has many revolutionary ideas. Despite The Globe's precarious finances (it is printed on cheap materials at hand, including butcher paper), it instantly becomes very popular for the subjects it fearlessly tackles. When she visits its offices, she encounters Ottmar Mergenthaler, who is busy inventing the Linotype machine to automate the slow, laborious process of setting type by hand. She tries, but fails to recruit Mergenthaler for The Star.
Eventually, Hackett visits Mitchell, working late at the office, and proposes a merger. Mitchell takes her in his arms and kisses her, but rejects her offer. She orders the second in command at her publication to cut off supplies of ink and paper to The Globe. He goes further than she had intended. Men are beaten up, and Rusty is run over by a heavy wagon. Mitchell confronts Hackett and tells her that Rusty may have to have his legs amputated. He does not believe her when she claims she did not mean for things to go this far, and that she has fired the man responsible.
When Mitchell learns that France's gift of the Statue of Liberty has not been erected because of lack of funds to build a pedestal for it, he launches a public campaign to raise the money, promising to print the names of all the donors. However, he later discovers that conmen are collecting money in The Globe's name. The government steps in and orders him to return all the funds. Mitchell finds out that the fraud was concocted by The Star and writes a scathing article. However, before it can be published, a bomb is throw into the office, destroying the printing press. Devastated by the loss of everything he has built, Mitchell drinks himself to sleep.
The next morning, he is puzzled to find his story being read by everyone. His men had worked late into the night, using the facilities provided by Hackett, to print the day's edition. Hackett tells him that she is killing The Star so that The Globe can flourish.
- Gene Evans as Phineas Mitchell
- Mary Welch as Charity Hackett
- Bela Kovacs as Ottmar Mergenthaler
- Herbert Heyes as Josiah Davenport
- Tina Pine as Jenny O'Rourke
- George O'Hanlon as Steve Brodie
- J. M. Kerrigan as Dan O'Rourke
- Forrest Taylor as Charles A. Leach
- Don Orlando as Mr. Angelo
- Neyle Morrow as Thomas Guest
- Dick Elliott as Jeff Hudson
- Stuart Randall as Mr. Spiro
- Dee Pollock as Rusty
- Hal K. Dawson as Mr. Wiley