1980s 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.

Gandhi (1982)

The IMDB Gandhi page for this Academy Award winning film begins with a reference to him as “the lawyer who…” — but he was also a journalist.
Search this plain-text copy of the Gandhi movie script for the word “journal” as a reminder of how the film suggested the importance of journalism in his nation-building career.

A Flash of Green (1984)

A reporter for a small Florida paper winds up in the middle between a developer with political ambitions and a “save the bay” environmental group that includes his best friend’s widow. Amazon lists the film in VHS format for $50 and does not show a DVD release, which is a shame for a film that departs from the usual Hollywood tales about big city reporters who are either superheroes or super-flawed. A YouTube user uploaded the full-length fillm in six files in 2011, and it was still there the last time I looked. Here’s the first episode (click the user’s name to reach the other five):


From Roger Ebert’s review
: “He’s not one of those hotshot journalists the movies like to fabricate, but a small-town journeyman who keeps a low profile, gets his job done, and in his own quiet way knows where all the bodies are buried. Instead, it’s going to be about a complicated relationship involving a newspaper reporter, his conscience, and the woman he loves.”

From Vincent Canby’s New York Times review: “‘A Flash of Green’ is not perfect, but it is provocative and nearly always intelligent.”

The film is based on a novel by John D. MacDonald, written in 1962.

Fletch (1985)

Students, do not try these reporting techniques at home.

Brenda Starr (1989 trailer)

The trailer may say all you need to know about this feature film, a box-office disaster that attempted to have “camp” fun with what was for many years a popular comic strip — about the romantic adventures of a well-dressed red-haired reporter. The strip was finally retired in 2011. As all the costume changes in the movie trailer might suggest, during her 70 years in print, Brenda was a fashionista before that word was coined.

In fact, she may have inspired more future fashion designers than reporters. Paper dolls were published in the color Sunday comics, along with an invitation for readers to suggest new styles. The cutouts  still have collectors today. A quick Web search shows that competing comic-strip reporter “Jane Arden” also had paper dolls and invited readers to suggest costumes. Maybe there’s a term paper project for someone on “citizen fashion journalism” in the 1940s.

Both Jane Arden (1939) and Brenda Starr (1945) made it to the screen when their comics were young; Brenda’s debut was a 13-chapter Saturday-matinee cliffhanger serial, which has been restored and reissued  on DVD.

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