It’s the little-brother to Picture Snatcher, a much better Cagney film. It uses the thrilling new profession of Newspaper Photographer to push the story along, but the story is a mess, the acting is rote, the photography dull, the print muddled, and the “zingy” dialogue is nothing but old herring and flat Coke passed off as caviar and champagne.
The newspaper is laid out by people who can predict the future, I guess:
How do they know? The movie ends with a headline that uses a word we don’t see much anymore:
As it turns out, the photographer worked for the Daily Post, so the picture didn’t go out over the wire, but details, details.
The “wirepicto” was a modern marvel, a means by which whose pictures could go across the country in a flash. It was impressive, and it did change newspapers, but this isn’t the movie to tell its story.
Lew Ayers is the young wise-cracking wirephotog; he came to fame with “All Quiet on the Western Front” a few years before, and acted for over six decades. (Born in Minneapolis, by the way.) Better as a grown man than a young one, I think. But this clip shows you what's wrong with the movie. It's not just the dialogue, it's the lack of a relatioship with people as we know them. Lew goes to the bathroom to clean some eggs off his pants, and decides - well, you'll see.
The reference to "Dying Gaul" might have made sense, if they'd been teaching classical sculpture in the schools, or if the statue really did appear at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, 32 years before.
In any case: meh. Supposedly William Hopper, aka Hamilton Burger, appears somewhere, but I can't find him. You know a print's bad when you can't spot that mug.