Newspaper Noir

In this time of journalism-in-crisis, with the P-I and other papers folding left and right, what reporter wouldn’t want to have Broderick Crawford as an editor? He stars in the 1952 Scandal Sheet, set and shot in a real New York City where the print at least two editions a day. The Newspaper Noir retrospective celebrates the hard-drinking, fast-talking, ink-stained wretches who, during those glorious ’40s and ’50s, constituted the MSM. That means telegraphs, Underwoods, fedoras, pneumatic tubes, giant printing presses in the basement, and proud tabloid headlines—preferably involving an axe. With his New York Herald approaching a circulation of 750,000 (!!!), Crawford says he’s serving “the hunger of the public for thrills, escape, and news.” In that order, too. Written by former journalist Sam Fuller, Scandal Sheet has an ingenious, front-page murder premise that I won’t spoil. Donna Reed and John Derek co-star (barely) as junior reporters, and the latter gets away with some priceless lines that would never be uttered in a newsroom today. Looking at some crime-scene photos, he comments that one “is a very rare item—a picture of a dame with her mouth shut.” And a recession-era bonus for unemployed journalists: All 14 titles are double-features. BRIAN MILLER

Feb. 13-19, 7 & 9 p.m., 2009

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