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Park Row(1952)

In this labor of love, maverick director Samuel Fuller, who had started out as a newspaperman, created this adoring tribute to the birth of American tabloid journalism in the 1880s. After the success of his Korean War thriller The Steel Helmet (1951), Fuller had signed a non-binding contract with Twentieth Century-Fox. He offered them his tale of a fictional editor (Gene Evans) who creates his own paper to fight the corruption he sees in the press, but studio head Darryl F. Zanuck wanted to turn it into a big-budget musical. Fuller instead sunk his own savings into the film to see his vision through. Wanting the picture to be as accurate as possible, he created a replica of New York’s Park Row, the street most of the major papers called home in the 19th century. He even demanded all the buildings be four stories tall, even though the upper stories would never appear on screen. He then shot the film with his customary mix of tight close-ups and long takes. Evans claims Fuller invented the movable crab dolly to facilitate the production. Without major stars, the film flopped, but a modern appreciation of Fuller’s career has led to the film’s rediscovery amongst audiences. Despite losing his savings on it, Fuller always called this picture his favorite film. (d. Samuel Fuller, 83m, 35mm)

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