Friday, April 17, 2015

Tonight's Movie: News is Made at Night (1939)

The engaging team of Preston Foster and Lynn Bari costarred in three films for 20th Century-Fox in a three-year period: CHASING DANGER (1939), NEWS IS MADE AT NIGHT (1939), and SECRET AGENT OF JAPAN (1942). I've been wanting to see the first two films ever since I saw SECRET AGENT OF JAPAN back in 2012, and now I've finally caught NEWS IS MADE AT NIGHT.

NEWS IS MADE AT NIGHT is a lightweight 70 minutes, made more interesting by a deep cast and the fact that it's a newspaper movie, which always has appeal.

Foster plays irascible newspaper editor Steve Drum, who will do pretty much anything to get a story. Steve's ideas of journalistic ethics include publishing a phony affidavit and faking a call regarding a man on death row.

Steve clashes repeatedly with Maxine Thomas (Bari), as he chauvinistically doesn't believe in women reporters and Maxine always seems to accidentally mess up his stories. However, Maxine charms young Albert Hockman (Russell Gleason), who is acting as publisher in his father's absence, and Albert keeps going to bat for Maxine, even going so far as to put her on his personal payroll after Steve fires her for the umpteenth time.

The plot, concerning a man unjustly sentenced to death row, was not always entirely clear, but that didn't matter too much. My focus was on enjoying the sparring between Foster and Bari, and it's also a great film for people watching, given that the cast includes many familiar faces such as George Barbier, Richard Lane, Charles Lane, Minor Watson, Charles Halton, Paul Harvey, Paul Fix, Paul Guilfoyle, Irving Bacon, and Robert Emmett Keane.

Russell Gleason, who does a good job as the goofy young publisher, was the son of character actors James and Lucile Gleason. He would die tragically in 1945 due to an accidental fall from a window while serving in the U.S. military. He made over 50 movies before his passing.

NEWS IS MADE AT NIGHT was written by John Larkin and directed by Alfred L. Werker. It was filmed in black and white by Ernest Palmer.

Given that it's fairly flimsy as "B" movies go, NEWS IS MADE AT NIGHT will appeal the most to fans of the cast or newspaper films.

For more on this film, please see Steve's 2012 review at Mystery File.

Thanks to Maricatrin for the big assist in seeing this one! It was great to check it off my list after looking for it the last couple of years. I hope to also review CHASING DANGER before too long.


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