Friends of the First Amendment: The Editor’s Notebook & The Power of the Press in 35mm with Rick Kogan on 4/17

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701  W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, April 17 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Lew Landers • 1943
The editor of the New York Gazette experiences a crisis of conscience and prepares to renounce his tabloid’s isolationist slant, but an assassin’s bullet intervenes before he can speak truth to power. The Gazette is willed to one Ulysses Bradford (Guy Kibbee), a newspaper man of unusual integrity hitherto dedicated to raising the civic discourse among the good people of Hiawatha, Nebraska. He’s brought to New York by Edwina “Eddie” Stephens (Gloria Dickson), the deceased editor’s no-nonsense girl Friday with an agenda of her own, and immediately clashes with Griff Thompson (Lee Tracy, snarling veteran of countless pre-Code newspaper comedies), the ambitious managing editor whose quest for the scoop blinds him to larger political realities. This ink-for-brains B picture is barely over an hour and subsists on a handful of sets, but it overflows with rhetorical fireworks, righteous speechifying, and patriotic patois. Several flourishes—“Freedom is dynamite and has to be handled with care!”—are instantly identifiable as the knuckleheaded Americanisms of screenwriter Samuel Fuller, who submitted a treatment for Power of the Press before enlisting in the Army; the finished film adds topical references to Himmler and fifth column factions, but it stands beside Park Row as a stirring tribute to journalism’s place in a democratic society, complete with a prescient denunciation of “fake news.” (KW)
64 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Introduced by Chicago Tribune columnist and WGN Radio host Rick Kogan

SPECIAL SHORT SUBJECT – World Premiere of New 35mm Print!

Directed by Orlando Lippert • 1950
A sponsored film from Wilding Picture Productions made on behalf of the Chicago Daily News in its Pulitzer Prize-winning heyday, The Editor’s Notebook mixes documentary footage and staged recreations to illuminate and explain the work of the Daily News and the importance of a free press in American democracy. Our guides are two fictional Daily News employees: Len the dogged reporter (Kirby Grant) and Dave the fearless photographer (Frank Dane). The film also finds time to include lengthy remarks from editor-in-chief John S. Knight on the moral and social obligations of the Daily News, as well as a concise history of the publication and a recap of recent major scoops broken by the paper. Special attention is paid to the Daily News’ skid row exposé and the paper’s efforts in uncovering a classic Springfield scheme that placed rival newspapermen on the state payroll. Local industrial film company Wilding Picture Productions was at its apex when it made The Editor’s Notebook, turning out over a hundred films per year for numerous corporate client from the site of the former Essanay Studios that was briefly home to Charlie Chaplin. (KW)
28 min • Wilding Picture Productions • 35mm from CFS Collections

Preserved by Chicago Film Society with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation. Additional material courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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