1970s JournoFilms

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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.

A Kolchak collection

Better late than never: A few weeks ago, students in my class gave rave reviews to “Feed,” a novel about online journalists at work after the zombie apocalypse; another student asked about films in which journalists get obsessed with serial killers. Somehow I managed to not mention that back in the 1970s, the original supernaturally obsessed journalist Carl Kochak covered both of those bases. YouTube to the rescue…

The two made-for-TV movies, followed by a 20-episode TV series, starred Darren McGavin as the reporter and Simon Oakland, as editor, Tony Vincenzo, playing out many of the stereotypes of reporter-editor love/hate relationships established in four decades of Hollywood movies and a couple of centuries of newsroom interactions.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1972)

Kolchak: The Night Strangler (1973)

Kolchak:The Night Stalker — Zombie (1974 TV series episode)

The Parallax View (1974)

As paranoid as Kolchak, but a bit more serious… assassination, conspiracy.

All the President’s Men (trailer, 1976)

Clips pop up from time to time on YouTube, but go buy a copy for $5… or the double-DVD with a “making of” documentary.

Between the Lines (1977)

This film is finally available on “manufactured on demand” DVD from MGM after being on my “most wanted” list for years. The “Back Bay Mainline” newspaper is based on three real publications from the Cambridge-Boston area in the 1970s, the Phoenix, Boston After Dark and The Real Paper.

For a class assignment, I’d like students to compare the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Nation reviews of this film… But should that be before or after we watch it in class? And do I have to deliver an ancient-history lecture on “The Seventies” first?

Credits, over 1970s Boston scenes and Michael J. Pollard’s great pitch as street salesman. Targetted marketing, hipster style.

“Alternative” newspaper staff discusses the coming of a “rich asshole who buys up papers like ours.”

Jeff Goldblum — as “Max,” the alt-weekly’s rock music critic — tries to impress a women’s college class by connecting the Beatles to Wallace Stevens, asking “whither rock ‘n’ roll?”… and finishing with his phone number.

Warning to students: One character in this film reminds me of what I looked like in 1977 so much that it hurts. And, no, it wasn’t Goldblum. I’ve never been that tall… or that self-confident (or a much less flattering synonym).

Additional warning: YouTube (at least for the moment) also has a scene in which a reporter (male) and photographer (female) interview a Boston “Combat Zone” stripper after showing just enough of her act to help get the original movie an “R” rating. But it’s also a very good scene to start journalism-class discussion of good and bad interview techniques, or avoiding sexism, bias and gender stereotypes (in movies and in reporting), etc.

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