I do not host or maintain any of these online films myself; these pages just link to publicly available trailers, clips and full-length films at YouTube and Vimeo. If full-length films are posted without authorization, the links will be disabled after the service determines there is a problem.
Murder is News (1937)
A Winchellish gossipy newspaperman takes to the radio… I wonder whether calling the character “Jerry Tracy” a hat-tip to Lee Tracy, who had played a similar character in “Blessed Event.” This actor, John Gallaudet, played fast-talking reporters in several other films.
Elmer Land (Joe E. Brown) should not be your journalistic role model. But he does believe in new technologies like radio and airplanes.
Storm in a Teacup (1937)
A 29-year-old Rex Harrison is a reporter; Vivien Leigh, two years before “Gone With the Wind,” is not exactly a news source. I’ve written about this over at JHeroes, under the heading “Storm in a teacup crossed the Atlantic.” The film itself has been on YouTube, but is now an online rental.
Wake Up and Live (1937, song)
(Just the title song, over stills of Alice Faye and a sheet music cover showing newspaper columnist turned radio gossip Walter Winchell, who played himself in the movie about a feud between a columnist and a band leader. See “Blessed Event.” I’ve written about both films in a JHeroes discussion of Winchell’s multimedia career.)
Here’s Flash Casey (1938)
I’ve written more about hard-hitting news photographer Casey over at “Newspaper Heroes on the Air,” in a discussion of film-to-radio and radio-to-film adaptations. “Flashgun Casey” or “Casey, Crime Photographer” in a long run on radio, Casey actually got his start in pulp detective magazines. Stu Erwin played a very different interpretation of newspaperman Casey — without a camera — in Women Are Trouble (1936)
International Crime (1938)
“The Shadow” recast as a newspaper crime columnist named Lamont Cranston who broadcasts a radio crime news show, then goes off and solves the crimes himself. This version is hardly radio’s “man of mystery” with the power to cloud men’s minds and become invisible. But he has a new assistant, a journalism honor student named “Phoebe Lane,” the newspaper owner’s niece… something of a cross between the radio Shadow’s assistant Margo Lane and her (distant cousin?) reporter Lois Lane.
The Night Hawk (clip, 1938)
Star Bob Livingston had been a reporter in real-life, and his father was a newspaper editor, according to IMDB, which says an assignment at the Pasadena Playhouse led to his career in acting. He mostly played cowboy heroes, but here he’s hopping on an incoming ship to get a story.
Torchy Blane in Panama (1938 trailer)
Actress Lola Lane’s one outing as Torchy apparently was enough to inspire the creators of Superman to name his similarly feisty reporter girlfriend “Lois Lane” in the 1938 Action Comics #1.
King of the Newsboys (1938)
“A murder a day, with a woman in it” is the key to newspaper circulation proposed by the entrepreneurial Jerry Flynn, who moves up from the tenements and newspaper street-sales to the executive suite, at least for a while. He also starts a racetrack newspaper, where “undercover reporting” involves costumes and a four-horse carriage. The screenplay was co-authored by Louis Weitzenkorn, the former New York Evening Graphic editor who wrote another cautionary melodrama about circulation-crazed tabloids, “Five Star Final.” Jerry’s tenenment-raised sweetheart is Helen Mack, who played the condemned man’s desperate sweetheart Molly Molloy in the classic newspaper film “His Girl Friday” a few years later; she gets another desperate scene at this film’s climax. (Formerly on YouTube; now on Amazon Prime)
Each Dawn I Die (1939, trailer)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Nancy Drew, Reporter (1939)
Three Torchy Blane films were released in 1939, with two different stars:
- Torchy Blane.. Playing with Dynamite (1939), Jane Wyman
- Torchy Runs for Mayor (1939), Glenda Farrell
- Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939), Glenda Farrell
“Chasing news and clues… and finding nothing but trouble!”