Front Page Woman (Warner Bros.) (1935)

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Well, I don’t know what else I could be—I’'m too old for a flower girl! George Brent Proves Expert Hat Tosser Editor Comend: Women Not ““Bum Newspaper Men” Newspaper Scooped Verdict While Jury Was Still Out Incident in “Front Page Woman” Recalls ‘Scoop’ of Harry Thaw Trial George Brent, today earned himself a charter membership in that exclusive Hollywood organization, the Ancient Order of Expert Hat Tossers. He did it on the set of Warner Bros. “Front Page Woman,” which comes to the Theatre on Veteran Journalist Points Out There Are Scores of Splendid Feminine Reporters “Are women bum newspapermen?” When a jury is “out” in a big murder trial, deliberating on the guilt or innocence of a defendant, daily newspapers frequently report that the jurors stand 8 to 4 for conviction, or 7 to 5 for acquittal, or something of the sort. How do the reporters find out those things? Richard Macauley, the noted author, wrote a magazine story several months ago beneath the title “Women are Bum Newspapermen.” Warner Brothers-First National studios purchased the film rights, and the picture went into production with George Brent The script called for Brent to enter the “Press Cafe” and, before seating himself, to toss his hat onto a wall peg from a distance er oe Ah! That’s a trade secret, which is not going to be revealed here! The actor neatly performed the But some sensational “exclusives” have been sprung by alert trick on the first attempt. and Bette Davis under the title “Front Page Woman.” Your correspondent determined to settle once and for all the question: “Are women bum newspapermen?” He went to Warden Woolard, city editor of a great metropolitan newspaper, the Los Angeles Examiner, the man who directs the vast, intricate machin_ ery required to collect the socalled “local” news that is read by hundreds of thousands of persons: each day. Woolard has spent a score of years in the newspaper business. For fifteen of these years he has been a city editor, supervising the activities of newsgatherers, reporters of both sexes. . We found him, a quiet, studiouslooking individual, blonde hair close-cropped, seated at his clean topped desk in one corner of the city room. We asked him: “Are women bum _ newspapermen?” Woolard smiled, his blue eyes crinkling. “The best newspaperman I have ever known is a woman,” he replied. That being a rather unexpected answer we pressed him for more information. Did he mean from the standpoint of excellence in writing or from fact gathering ability ? “Both,” he replied, laconically. “When a big story breaks and I want a well-written story founded upon all the facts available, I assign her to handle the yarn.” “Then she is now working for you?” = : “Yes,” the city editor responded. “She is Marjorie Driscoll of our local staff. Around here we call her the ‘best man on the staff.’ Personally, however, I believe she is one of the best newspapermen in the country. At any rate she’s the best one I have ever known personally.” Miss Driscoll, a veteran newspaper “man” herself, does not fall under the “sob-sister” classification. She will not write that type of story, Wollard said, although she can, and does, compose poetry. The city editor described Miss Driscoll’s gripping, dramatic story on the sailors who were pulled aloft at the end of a rope by the dirigible Akron at San Diego several years ago, as one of the outstanding pieces of reporting he has never known. “The story was widely reprinted,” he commented, “the Literary Digest carrying it in full as a splendid example of excellence in news reporting. Miss Driscoll also did a splendid piece of reporting on the Jackson Mine disaster several years ago. She went places, did things most male _ reporters would have evaded if possible.” “And you have known other women who are good newspaper men?” we pursued. “There is Adela Rogers St. John,’ Woolard continued. “She probably is best known now for her fiction, but Miss St. John could return to the newspaper field any time she desired and cover any assignment in a manner to cause most newspaper men to hang their heads in shame. “Her forte was courtroom ‘trials,’ the city editor went on. ‘““She wrote with such rapidity and «larity that she was invaluable as a trial reporter, but her field was by no means limited to that branch of newspaper work. She could cover any type of story right alongside the best of the Star of “Front PageWoman” The great dramatic star, Bette Davis, shines again in a new type of role, that of a girl reporter in Warner Bros’ “Front Page Woman”. George Brent appears opposite her, ably assisted by Roscoe Karns, Wini Shaw, J. Carroll Naish and Walter Walker. Mat No. 203—20c male reporters and she was far superior to most mere men.” Among Miss St. John’s outstanding work Woolard listed the trial of Clara Phillips, the so-called “hammer murderess” who recently was paroled from prison, and the notorious trial of the late Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. Her latest job of trial reporting was the Hauptmann case in New Jersey. Woolard named many other women he would be glad to have on his staff of reporters at any time, among them Winifred Black, of San Francisco; Dorothy Dix, who now writes a column; Emma Bugbee of the New York HeraldTribune and Ishbel Ross of the same newspaper; among others. “But,” we interposed, “do you consider the average woman _ reporter above the average male reporter?” Woolard considered the question for a moment before answering. “No, I don’t.” he finally replied. “But, in my experience, I have found this to be true. If a woman makes up her mind to become a good reporter and goes out and meets men reporters on the same ground and with equal opportunity, nine times out of ten she'll come back with more information and a better written story than her rivals of the opposite sex.” Which, coming from a member of the “opposite sex,” is saying considerable. “Front Page Woman” is a stirring drama based on _ Richard Macauley’s magazine story “Women are Bum Newspaper Men,” adapted by Roy Chanslor and Lillie Hayward, with the screen play by Laird Doyle. Michael Curtiz directed. In the cast besides Miss Davis are George Brent, Roscoe Karns, Winifred Shaw, Walter Walker, J. Carroll Naish, Gordon Westcott and Dorothy Dare. reporters who have found ways and means of picking up such information. A new angle on this sort of thing develops in the Warner Bros. comedy-drama, ‘‘Front Page Woman,” which co-stars Bette Davis and George Brent and which will be shown on at the Theatre. Although the two are in love with each other, they are keen competitors in newspaper work, Bette a sob-sister and George an ace reporter. A famous murder trial is part of the plot. Brent— while the jury is taken to a hotel for the night—manages to get into the deliberation-room, and _ finds slips of paper on which the jurors had written “Guilty.” He telephones to his paper a prediction that the defendant will be convicted. Then, to fool Bette, he makes up some false slips marked “Not Guilty,’ and places them where she can find them. She falls into the trap and writes a story that makes her and her paper appear ridiculous. But she has her revenge, in the end, because she gets a confession from the real murderer, who isn’t the person on trial at all, and she “scoops” Brent. In the famous trial of Harry Thaw in New York, for the murder of Stanford White, one of the afternoon papers pulled a_ big “exclusive” through an arrangement made by its reporters beforehand. They went to the trouble of interviewing, before the trial, every one of the couple of hundred tales Bette Davis Paints Pen Picture of George Brent Star of “Front Page Woman” Find Fellow Player Has Lived Exciting Life By Bette Davis I’m a newspaper woman now. Supposedly, at least, for in my new Warner Bros. picture, “Front Page Woman’, now show ing at the Theatre, I play the part of Ellen Garfield, sob-sister of a metropolitan daily. One of the duties of a newspaper woman is to interview prominent people, so I decided to interview George Brent, who is co-starred with me. He has had an extraordinarily interesting and exciting life. At heart an adventurer, Brent often is accused of being “closemouthed.” I have found, however, that he is anything but that. Brent has packed and crammed into his thirty years more adventure than the average person would experience in a dozen lifetimes. He comes of a family of journalists. A coincidence, incidentally, for in “Front Page Woman” he, too, portrays a newspaper reporter. My rival, but I get the best of him in the end. His adventuresome life really began during the Irish revolution, during which he served as a dispatch carrier for the rebel leader, Michael Collins, who was_ subsequently slain. Brent fled for his life, smuggling himself aboard a tramp steamer bound for America. He reached New York armed with little save a brief dramatic education earned with the famous Abbey players in Dublin. Hardly more than a child at the time, his life since then and until what GEORGE BRENT, now in “Front Page Theatre. Mat No. 105 10c amounted to a re-birth of his film career two years ago has been a succession of ups and downs. Knows Meaning of Hunger His first several years in this country were precarious to the extreme. Often he was forced to make another notch in his belt substitute for a meal and a park bench take the place of a bed. When he finally reached Hollywood, after several more years of struggling in stock, repertory companies, tent shows and whatnot, he started right up the ladder. He had almost reached the top, when something went awry and he started to tumble. men—from among whose _ ranks the jurors would be selected—and getting as many as possible of them to agree to give a signal every hour from the fourth-story window of the courthouse, the window being visible from the street below. If guilty was the verdict, the signaler was to scratch his head with his right hand. If not guilty, he was to use his left hand. As it turned out, one of the friendly talesmen was selected as a juror. But when he appeared at the window, after hours of deliberation, he didn’t give either of the agreedupon signals. He made a sweeping crosswise motion with both hands, such as prize ring referees make when they indicate the bout has resulted in a draw. The reporters down in the street understood this to mean “neither side wins,” and the paper came out with bannerlines stating that the jury had failed to agree. That was the fact. The tally was 10 to 2 for conviction. Thaw on a second trial was found not guilty by reason of insanity. “Front Page Woman” was directed by Michael Curtiz from-~ the screen play by Laird Doyle, as adapted by Roy Chanslor and Lillie Hayward from the story, “Woman Are Bum _ Newspaper Men” by Richard Macauley. Bette Davis and George Brent have the stellar roles, and the talented supporting cast includes Roscoe Karns, Walter Walker, Winifred Shaw, J. Carroll Naish, Gordon West Cott ands. Masrel MacDonald. Brent was accustomed to such situations, however. He took it in his stride and two years ago began his career anew. How well he has succeeded, you know as well as I. What I was most interested in learning from Brent, however, were his plans for the future. I asked him, and he _ answered, frankly and to the point. “Right now,” he said, “I want to work. I want to work hard for the next five or six years, possibly longer. “Naturally,” he went on, “I hope to do as well as I can, both financially and artistically. When I am finished in pictures, I want to be independent. I want to be able to do as I please, to go where I want to go and to be responsible to nobody except myself.” Prefers Roles with Action As for the present, Brent stated he is willing to play any type of role Warner Bros. desire him to portray. “fam particularly unhappy in romantic roles, however,” he said. “I flatten out, go stale, unless there is some humorous relief in the part. “T am very fond of the type of role I have in “Front Page Woman.” It has its dramatic moments, yet it is flavored with plenty of comedy. And above all it has ‘tempo.’ The picture moves rapidly, which is very gratifying.” “Front Page Woman” was adapted from Richard Macauley’s magazine story, “Women Are Bum Newspapermen” by Roy Chanslor and Lillie Hayward. The screen play was written by Laird Doyle, and Michael Curtiz directed. The supporting cast includes Roscoe Karns, Winifred Shaw, Walter Walker, J. Carrol Naish, Gordon Westcott and J. Farrell MacDonald. Page Eleven