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.
Colonel Effingham’s Raid (1946)
In 1940, a retired colonel returns to his Georgia hometown and offers to write a regular column on the war brewing in Europe. It makes him a local celebrity, but he strays from the World War to declare war on the city government. “I’m a newspaperman, not an evangelist,” says the advertising-hungry new editor, when asked to take a stand. Watch for “small-town journalism” stereotypes, moonlight-and-mint-juleps Southern stereotypes, 1940s Hollywood racial stereotypes, and unabashed sexism. (The only woman on the paper is the society editor. Both the leading man and the camera are preoccupied with her ankles — underscoring each glimpse with orchestral wolf-whistles. I suspect actress Joan Bennett had more fun playing a beautician turned crime reporter 10 years earlier in “Big Brown Eyes.”)
Home in Oklahoma (1946)
Roy Rogers, singing-cowboy star of 1940s films and 1950s television, plays a newspaper editor coincidentally named “Roy Rogers,” out where men are men and customers pay their bills with crates of chickens. It’s a genre white-hats-versus-black-hats Western matinee for the kids, but with a twist: its “big city reporter versus country editor” plot. Another surprise, maybe: The conniving big-city reporter turns out to be a woman. At one point, the local sheriff throws her in jail for refusing to reveal a source in a murder investigation; meanwhile Roy lectures her on the ethics of swiping his story instead of waiting for him to find the murderer. If the St. Louis reporter hadn’t been played by Rogers’ wife, Dale Evans, there might be more mystery — even before the two literally start singing in harmony half-way through the movie. (But there are other reasons to write a women’s studies term paper about this film, so I won’t give away the ending.)
Gentleman’s Agreement (1947, trailer)
Gregory Peck played a magazine reporter investigating anti-Semitism in this best-picture Oscar winner, and based on a best-selling novel by the same name. YouTube only has a trailer, but it’s nice to see the DVD available at my local Barnes & Noble and a streaming copy on Amazon Instant Video. There’s a transcription of the dialogue posted online. Also see Andrew Belonsky’s article, “Why everyone should watch Gregory Peck in ‘Gentleman’s Agreement,'” discussing the film in relation to more recently in the news bigotries. As a journalism study, it can prompt healthy discussions of the issue of “undercover” reporting, deception, and the impact of the reporter’s decisions on family and friends.
Whispering City (1947)
A French-Canadian film with a woman reporter on the trail of a dying actresses’ story, and the story of her husband’s suspicious death years before. Reporter: “How could they forget anyone as famous as you?”
In the first episode of the first 1948 live-action Superman serial, a young Clark Kent leaves home, seeking “a job that will keep me close to world events…” and encounters a newspaper reporter named Lois Lane. In the next clip, he gets career advice from a cab driver… and makes his first headlines as “Mystery Bird-Man” on his way to an unorthodox job interview.
Kent: “I’d like to be a reporter. I haven’t any experience in writing…”
Perry White: “Well, that should help.”
Kent: “… but I have other qualifications that might be valuable.”
State of the Union (1948, trailer)
From a Pulitzer winning play, with some echoes of Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “Meet John Doe.” An ambitious woman newspaper publisher tries to become the power behind a president. Spencer Tracy is the business exec turned candidate; Katharine Hepburn is his estranged wife. Angela Lansbury is the publisher. Frank Capra directs.