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« Your Newspaper

"That's the press, baby, and there's nothing you can do about it"

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published August 7, 2009


There’s a romance about newspapers within our population.

Newspapers are a fixture of Americana themselves. Plus they do a decent job to be in position to capture other slices of Americana.

Hollywood loves newspapers as a backdrop, and this week, a newspaper trade magazine, Editor & Publisher, asked readers to vote on the best newspaper movies made by Hollywood.

Here’s a link to the story. More importantly, here are the poll results as reported today by Greg Mitchell of E&P::

8) "Absence of Malice" starring Paul Newman and Sally Field. 1981
7) "Sweet Smell of Success" starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. 1957
6) "His Girl Friday" starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. 1940
5) "Citizen Kane" starring Agnes Moorehead and Joseph Cotton. 1941
4) "The Paper" starring Robert Duvall, Glenn Close and Michael Keaton. 1994
3) "Ace in the Hole" starring Kirk Douglas/Billy Wilder. 1951
2) "All the President's Men" starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. 1976

And the winner:

"Deadline U.S.A.," starring Humphrey Bogart (1952). It's got an oddball cast - Bogie, Kim Hunter, and mostly a bunch of radio actors - Ed Begley, Joe De Santis, Martin Gabel and Joyce McKenzie to name a few - who have three days to bring down a gangster.

Here are some voter comments on the films:

-- Why is (“Deadline U.S.A.”) still relevant today? Well at the end, the newspaper is sold and closes.

-- Line from "Deadline USA":
"What's that noise?"
"That's the press baby, the press and there is nothing you can do about it....nothing!"

-- “The Paper." There's a very quick scene in passing in the newsroom when one reporter annoyingly calls out, "How do you spell ..." and a copy editor turns and yells, "Look it UP!"
-- "Ace in the Hole" – Billy Wilder's 1951 film in which a washed-up big city newsman (Kirk Douglas), now working for a small paper in Albuquerque, tries to regain fame by exploiting a local story about a man trapped in a cave. The whole affair becomes a media-fueled circus, complete with food vendors, a tent city of gawkers, and an amusement park ride. The portrayal of the press and of the public appetite for sensation seem pretty over-the-top, but the film is based on a real event that became a similar media circus.

-- Great movie lines:
"... if there's no news, I'll go out and bite a dog."
"Bad news sells best. Cause good news is no news."
"It's a good story today. Tomorrow, they'll wrap a fish in it."


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