Projections: Journalism on Film

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We take a look at how journalism and reporters have been depicted on film over the decades with Professor Joe Saltzman, director of the Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture Project, and New York Times film critic Dave Kehr.

The four films we'll be discussing are "His Girl Friday," "Ace in the Hole," "Network," and "Good Night, and Good Luck."


Dave Kehr and Joe Saltzman

Comments [8]

Steve Brand from NYC

oops, pls ignore previous comment.....tuned in late and thought His Girl Friday was being described as the original version....actually one of your commentators misspoke and said Hildy was a woman in the original, but this was after it was clearly set up that it was the other way around (which I discovered once I listened to the beginning of your segment).

So, in the words of Gilda Radner....."never mind.'

Aug. 18 2009 06:46 PM
Steve Brand from NYC

Error alert:
Howard Hawks' "His Girl Friday" was a remake of Lewis Milestone's 1930 "The Front Page" with Adolph Monjou in the Walter Burns part. So it was the original movie (which was a Broadway show before that) that had two guys in the reporter/editor roles. It was Hawks who switched it to male editor and female reporter. Billy Wilder switched it back to the original version for his remake of the remake.

Aug. 18 2009 06:33 PM
Joe Saltzman from USC Annenberg - Los Angeles

If anyone is interested in this subject, you might be interested in The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture (IJPC) website at

Aug. 18 2009 02:08 PM
Joe Saltzman from USC Annenberg - Los Angeles

Tom: "Call Northside 777" is a good film depicting the hard work of the journalist to free an innocent man accused of killing a policeman. "All the President's Men" shows some of the hard work journalists go through to verify a story.

Aug. 18 2009 02:07 PM
tom from qns

Which of these films actually depicts the craft of jounalism most accurately?

Aug. 18 2009 01:46 PM
steve m from jersey city, nj

what does moral balance have to do with a movie being good or bad? whether 'ace in the hole' is too cynical has nothing to do with whether or not it's a good movie. i'm enough of a pollyanna so as to think the story shown in 'ace in the hole' is a pretty ridiculous exaggeration of the real world, but it's still a hugely entertaining film. i don't need for films to match my own viewpoints or mirror my belief systems.
and now we're getting the usual praise for the perennially over-rated sam fuller. i guess his work must have the "moral balance" that's missing from mean old billy wilder's 'ace in the hole'. we'll ignore what a clunky ham-fisted moralizer fuller was.

Aug. 18 2009 01:43 PM
tom from ny

please no spoilers!! ok - we're all entitled to our opinions. i happen to think ace in the hole was a very good film but do understand that film buffs don't always like what i like. what i don't understand is why the buffs love to ruin the ending.

Aug. 18 2009 01:39 PM
Sandra from Astoria, Queens

"Network" is so great!

I really loved David Fincher's "Zodiac" from a couple years ago. It's all about journalistic information-gathering and is closer to "All the President's Men" than any typical movie about serial killers. Plus Robert Downey Jr. was brilliant (as usual) as reporter Paul Avery.

Aug. 18 2009 01:15 PM

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