Park Row (1952)

83-84 mins | Drama | 12 August 1952

Director:

Samuel Fuller

Writer:

Samuel Fuller

Producer:

Samuel Fuller

Cinematographer:

John L. Russell

Editor:

Philip Cahn

Production Designer:

Theobold Holsopple

Production Company:

Samuel Fuller Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

A written foreword runs over a montage of newspaper mastheads, stating: "These are the names of 1,772 daily newspapers in the United States. One of them is the paper you read. All of them are the stars of this story. Dedicated to American journalism." An offscreen narrator then declares over the opening credits that Park Row, in Manhattan, is the most important street for printing and was made famous by such inventors as Johannes Gutenberg, who created moveable type, and Benjamin Franklin. The film depicts several real-life occurrences, including Steve Brodie's leap from the Brooklyn Bridge, the American effort to raise enough money to complete the Statue of Liberty, and Ottmar Mergenthaler's invention of the linotype machine.
       Samuel Fuller's credit reads "Written, produced and directed by Samuel Fuller." Fuller wrote the story based on his own experiences in the newspaper world, which began at the age of 14, when he worked as a copy boy. A Jan 1952 LAT item reports that Fuller solicited the stories of anyone who was present when the Statue of Liberty was raised and, according to a HR news item, he searched New York City for shooting locations with cobblestone streets and buildings that had remained unchanged since the late 1800s. A Feb 1952 LADN article reported that the printing press used in the film was constructed specially for the production from the original 1878 plans. To promote the film, Fuller asked over 1,700 newspapers to donate their mastheads for use in the opening sequence, and then sent 16mm prints of the finished picture to every newspaper in America. Despite his efforts, however, the film was a financial ... More Less

A written foreword runs over a montage of newspaper mastheads, stating: "These are the names of 1,772 daily newspapers in the United States. One of them is the paper you read. All of them are the stars of this story. Dedicated to American journalism." An offscreen narrator then declares over the opening credits that Park Row, in Manhattan, is the most important street for printing and was made famous by such inventors as Johannes Gutenberg, who created moveable type, and Benjamin Franklin. The film depicts several real-life occurrences, including Steve Brodie's leap from the Brooklyn Bridge, the American effort to raise enough money to complete the Statue of Liberty, and Ottmar Mergenthaler's invention of the linotype machine.
       Samuel Fuller's credit reads "Written, produced and directed by Samuel Fuller." Fuller wrote the story based on his own experiences in the newspaper world, which began at the age of 14, when he worked as a copy boy. A Jan 1952 LAT item reports that Fuller solicited the stories of anyone who was present when the Statue of Liberty was raised and, according to a HR news item, he searched New York City for shooting locations with cobblestone streets and buildings that had remained unchanged since the late 1800s. A Feb 1952 LADN article reported that the printing press used in the film was constructed specially for the production from the original 1878 plans. To promote the film, Fuller asked over 1,700 newspapers to donate their mastheads for use in the opening sequence, and then sent 16mm prints of the finished picture to every newspaper in America. Despite his efforts, however, the film was a financial failure and bankrupted Samuel Fuller Productions, which completed only one project.
       Although the DV review reports that the film includes a footnote stating that "90% of Park Row is based on fact," that footnote was not in the viewed print. Sound engineer Earl Crain, Sr.'s surname is misspelled "Craine" in the onscreen credits. HR news items include Dorothy Sarnoff in the cast and modern sources add Charles Horvath ( Wiley's goon ) and Monk Eastman, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. In addition, a HR news item lists the actor who plays "Steve Brodie" as George Hamilton rather than as George O'Hanlon. Mary Welch made her feature-film debut in Park Row . FD reported in Jun 1954 that the Walter E. Heller Co. sued Samuel Fuller and others involved in the production for the use of the title "Park Row," but the disposition of the suit is not known. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Aug 1952.
---
Daily Variety
5 Aug 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Aug 52
p. 7.
Film Daily
2 Jun 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 52
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
9 Feb 1952.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Jan 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Aug 52
p. 1477.
New York Times
22 Dec 52
p. 20.
Variety
6 Aug 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam movements
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Master of props
Props
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Boom man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Inserts
Editorial cartoons
Scr supv
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 August 1952
Production Date:
22 January--early February 1952 at General Service Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Samuel Fuller Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 August 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1853
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
83-84
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15811
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City in 1886, reporter Phineas Mitchell joins his fellow newspapermen at a local bar. While Steve Brodie, husband of the bartender, Jenny O'Rourke, plans to earn publicity for the bar by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, Phineas fumes over the success of his paper, The Star , in orchestrating the execution of an innocent man in order to increase circulation. After he posts a plaque on the man's grave denouncing the paper, Star publisher Charity Hackett confronts Phineas. He condemns her and when the other workers support him, they are all fired. Printer Charles A. Leach overhears Phineas fantasize out loud about the kind of honest, moral paper he would run, and offers the budding editor the use of his press and offices. Within hours, Phineas hires all of his friends and writes the story of Steve's successful jump off the bridge. The men, along with young apprentice Rusty, work all night sorting type, and then are forced to use butcher paper in order to print The Globe by morning. Its exciting copy and high ideals are an instant hit, and the next morning, Charity visits the offices to check out her new competitor. Phineas flirts with her as she tries to gather information about him, but she is undaunted until later that afternoon, when Phineas' huge parade for Steve proves that he already wields power in the neighborhood. Soon after, Phineas' star reporter, the elderly Josiah Davenport, proposes a story about the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, which now needs another $100,000 in order to be completed. The Globe champions this patriotic effort, ... +


In New York City in 1886, reporter Phineas Mitchell joins his fellow newspapermen at a local bar. While Steve Brodie, husband of the bartender, Jenny O'Rourke, plans to earn publicity for the bar by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, Phineas fumes over the success of his paper, The Star , in orchestrating the execution of an innocent man in order to increase circulation. After he posts a plaque on the man's grave denouncing the paper, Star publisher Charity Hackett confronts Phineas. He condemns her and when the other workers support him, they are all fired. Printer Charles A. Leach overhears Phineas fantasize out loud about the kind of honest, moral paper he would run, and offers the budding editor the use of his press and offices. Within hours, Phineas hires all of his friends and writes the story of Steve's successful jump off the bridge. The men, along with young apprentice Rusty, work all night sorting type, and then are forced to use butcher paper in order to print The Globe by morning. Its exciting copy and high ideals are an instant hit, and the next morning, Charity visits the offices to check out her new competitor. Phineas flirts with her as she tries to gather information about him, but she is undaunted until later that afternoon, when Phineas' huge parade for Steve proves that he already wields power in the neighborhood. Soon after, Phineas' star reporter, the elderly Josiah Davenport, proposes a story about the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, which now needs another $100,000 in order to be completed. The Globe champions this patriotic effort, offering to print the name of anyone who gives money to the "Liberty Fund." Meanwhile, Phineas' friend, inventor Ottmar Mergenthaler, struggles to create the first linotype machine. Charity attempts to woo him to The Star , but Mergenthaler informs her that he will only work for a great, moral paper. Over the next days, the Globe office begins to grow, and while the eager Rusty learns the secrets of the industry from his experienced co-workers, Phineas introduces innovations such as individual newsstands and bylines. When he discovers that Charity plans to denounce the Statue of Liberty as a ruse to allow the French to borrow money from the U.S., he rebuts her attack in an earlier edition and wins the fight. Secretly, however, Phineas is falling in love with Charity's beauty and strength, and when she visits that night and proposes a merger, he kisses her but refuses her offer. She stalks out and launches a plan to cut off his supplies of ink and paper. She dispatches her business manager, Riley, with the plan, and Riley hires goons who destroy the newsstands and, in an attack on the Globe paper truck, run over Rusty's legs. Phineas tracks and beats up the goons, and declares to Charity that she has started a war, causing her to weep. Soon after, Phineas is ordered by the government to return all profits from forged Liberty Fund receipts. When he finally captures one of the shyster fund "salesmen," the man names Riley as his employer. That night, Davenport writes the story of the fraudulent receipts but the press is attacked and the story stolen. Among the office ruins, Phineas finds the now-deceased Davenport's self-written obituary, which states that he has waited to die until he found a man of high ideals to save the press. Encouraged by Davenport's faith in Phineas, the staff works all night on Mergenthaler's newly perfected linotype machine to put the paper out. As the sun rises and they print the first issue, however, the office is once again attacked and the press destroyed. Despondent, Phineas drinks himself to sleep. When he awakes, his staff shows him the paper they have printed, identical to the old one. They bring forward Charity, who explains that Riley took her order too far and has been fired. She informs Phineas that she read Davenport's obituary and, inspired, killed her paper to give life to The Globe . He embraces her, and months later, the Statue of Liberty is raised thanks to the efforts of Phineas' paper. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.