Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in "Sweet Smell of Success."
Sweetheart, give me rewrite!
In a monthlong, 43-film series that begins Friday, Film Forum will celebrate one of the most New York of cinematic genres: the newspaper picture.
The prototype film, “The Front Page,” is based in Chicago, but really, these movies have a distinct New York sensibility, said Bruce Goldstein, the director of repertory programming at Film Forum.
“I would say New York is really in the mind of the screenwriter in most of [the films] as the template for the big city — capital B, capital C,” Goldstein said.
In this tribute to the golden age of newspapering, Goldstein has assembled a smartly curated list, with the opportunity to see classics such as “All the President’s Men” and “Citizen Kane,” but also a wealth of other notable films, some quite obscure.
One long-lost gem is the 1931 version of “The Front Page.” Goldstein described it as an important early talkie. It will screen at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The series will include special events, including an opportunity on May 1 to see V.A. Musetto, the New York Post journalist who in 1983 wrote the holy grail of tabloid headlines: “Headless Body in Topless Bar.”
Musetto got his start working at The New York Mirror, back when Walter Winchell was still a columnist there. So it makes sense that Musetto will introduce one of the greatest Gotham films of all time, “Sweet Smell of Success,” which captures gritty 1950s Times Square and the sordid world of gossip columnist J.J Hunsecker.
Another city film not to be missed is “Park Row,” (April 18) set in 1886, when the city’s newspapers were based on that street, right across from City Hall and not far from the bustling Lower East Side.
The series ends May 6, by which time old-fashioned city newspapering will be enjoying a real-world revival with Rupert Murdoch’s city edition of The Wall Street Journal.
His battle royal with The New York Times will no doubt be fodder for a “Front Page” of tomorrow.
Full details on events and screenings HERE.