The original ‘Front Page’ newspaper movie: Free from the Internet Archive

Why wait for the original version of The Front Page to show up on The Tube? You can legally enjoy this Hollywood classic for free from the Internet Archive. As summarized there:

image “Hildy Johnson (Pat O’Brien), newspaper reporter, is engaged to Peggy Grant and planning to move to New York for a higher paying advertising job. The court press room is full of lame reporters who invent stories as much as write them. All are waiting to cover the hanging of Earl Williams. When Williams escapes from the inept Sheriff, Hildy seizes the opportunity by using his $260 honeymoon money to payoff an insider and get the scoop on the escape. However, Walter Burns (Adolphe Menjou), the Post’s editor, is slow to repay Hildy back, hoping that he will stay on the story. Getting a major scoop looks possible when Hildy stumbles onto the bewildered escapee and hides him in a roll-top desk in the press room. Burns shows up to help. Can they keep Williams’ whereabouts secret long enough to get the scoop, especially with the Sheriff and other reporters hovering around?”

image Ben Hecht (photo) and Charles MacArthur cowrote The Front Page, and at no charge, you also can download Erik Dorn, Hecht’s Chicago newspaper novel, in a bunch of e-book formats. Erik Dorn is a much darker work than The Front Page, but still could appeal to many FP fans.

The Solomon Scandals has its own Front Page-ish elements, some picked up from my days at a daily newspaper where you could step outside the city room and almost immediately catch a whiff of hot lead. In the Scandals era, newspapers are making the transition to computers, but much of the wildness from the FP period goes on. The politicians simply happen to be more subtly corrupt.

Related: ‘Red Hot’ Engel sisters, possible iPad edition, Henry Adams and ‘Scandalize your classroom.’

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David Rothman

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