Gene Evans, Mary Welch, Bela Kovacs,
“Page One and The Screen are bedmates. Working in the morgue and shooting a movie trigger constant visions. A headline has the impact of a headshot, pulp and rawstock, fight lineage and footage, a news lead is the opening of a film,” Fuller explained in 1975. For the director, Park Row was “the story of my heart,” embodying all the love, hate, action, and emotion he associated with the press. Set in 1886, it is the tale of two rival newspapers, the muckraking Star and the Globe, started by idealistic journalist/crusader Phineas Mitchell (Gene Evans). The film is a history in miniature of the emergence of modern journalism, with Mitchell combining all the great newspaper editors of the period, but mostly reflecting Joseph Pulitzer. Park Row is about freedom of the press and its early perversions, about invention as the mother of creativity (in the linotype machine), about the making of news and by extension the making of movies. (Fuller dollies through three main sets like a dogged snoop.) If the film itself is a tad crusading, it’s not highfalutin: most of Mitchell’s thinking takes place in a bar.