Marceline Day and Malcolm McGregor under a picture of Lewis Stone - a poster
Directed by George Melford
Produced by Universal Pictures Corporation
Scenario J. Grubb Alexander
Based on a story by Peter B. Kyne
Starring Lewis Stone, Marceline Day, Malcolm McGregor, Henry B. Walthall
Cinematography Ben Reynolds
Film Editing George McGuire
Titles by Walter Anthony
Release date October 1928
Country United States
Language Silent film, English intertitles
We have included this film in our program to illustrate the work and contributions of our star Marceline Day.
We searched for the film "Freedom of the Press" all over the world. We were excited when we were told that an archive in Europe has a copy of the film. Unfortunately, the information proved to be inaccurate - they only have a trailer of the film. Still, we wished to obtain this trailer and show it to you. In another setback we were told that the poor condition of the print does not allow making copies.
Thus, the film is not available for viewing, so we have to rely on newspaper articles from the 1920ies. Silent Era shows survival status "unknown". If you have any information about a surviving copy of the film please let us know.
Here are just a few of the reviews for this film from the year after its release:
On Saturday a very fine drama is booked. "Freedom of the Press," in which those great stars, Lewis Stone, Marceline Day, Malcolm McGregor, Henry B. Walthall and others portray an intense story of American "graft" and political crookedness. The picture is new and last week was shown to huge and appreciative audiences. (Advertiser)
"Freedom of the Press" is the chief picture on the current program at the Artcraft Theatre. Lewis Stone plays the part of a crooked political boss fighting his boyhood chum, now the editor of the "Free Press," played by Henry B. Walthall, who is conducting a fierce campaign to bring out the identity of the members of the vice ring. One is as ruthless in his pursuit of good as the other is of evil. Both men give remarkably powerful characterizations. The love story is moving in its pathos, but finally emerges triumphant. Marceline Day and Malcolm McGregor furnish the juvenile interest with sincerity. The story itself is accurate in its newspaper detail. It also discloses the heart of a newspaper in a way which many other pictures have failed to accomplish. From a newspaperman's viewpoint the story is without a flaw. (Evening Post)
STIRRING PICTURE OF NEWSPAPER LIFE WITH LEWIS
STONE IN LEADING ROLE
One of the greatest stories of news paper life ever shown on the screen will be seen here when "Freedom of the Press," Universal's excellent motion picture of the press and the underworld, will be screened on Saturday night with Lewis Stone in the leading role.
There have been many newspaper films, but never before has there been one that depicted life as it actually existed on a great metropolitan daily. The hurrying, feverish atmosphere for which newspaper men will give up greater success in other occupations in order to remain at their typewriters in the city room, has been brought before the screen public in a dramatic and interesting manner.
The battle between the forces of the underworld and the truth-telling columns of a daily is the theme of the story. George Melford, the director, was himself a former editorial writer in New York, and he has treated the story with intelligence and skill.
"Freedom of the Press" is adapted from an original screen story by Peter B. Kyne. J. Grubb Alexander wrote the adaptation and the continuity. The story concerns the dramatic situation faced by a young man who finds that the guardian of the girl he loves is the "man higher up" in the municipal vice ring which his father, editor of the leading newspaper, is fighting. The editor is murdered by the ring and the boy is faced with carrying on his father's policies regardless of his fiancée's pleadings. The development of this situation makes one of the strongest dramas ever screened.
A group of stellar players is assembled in the cast. Marceline Day appears in the leading feminine role as the ward of the underworld king, the part assumed by Lewis Stone. Malcolm McGregor is a newspaper reporter and Harry B. Walthall enacts the tragic role of that young man's father, the publisher of "The Free Press." (Banner)
"Freedom of the Press"
A Good Newspaper Story
Universal has a powerful story in this yarn of newspapers and graft. It is an accurate portrayal of life behind the scenes in a newspaper office and equally as accurate in the corruptness of politics in some quarters. At the same time it carries a lively romance which builds to a dramatic climax when the young son of the owner of the paper assumes command and is compelled by a promise to his father to exploit the crookedness of the father of the girl he loves.
Lewis Stone heads the capable cast and he gives a splendid portrayal of the difficult role of the power behind the underworld in a large city. Henry B. Walthall is equally good as the newspaper proprietor who is pledged to give the city clean government. Malcolm McGregor is the youthful hero and opposite him is Marceline Day, ward of the corrupt politician. Both are well cast and do some effective work.
All of the roles are played in a dignified manner. There is not a dull moment throughout the progress of the feature and there are some thrilling ones that will make it a picture that will be talked about. (Motion Picture News)
Patrons are promised an extra special program this Saturday, when they will have the opportunity of seeing Universal's production of the Peter B. Kyne story, ''Freedom of the Press," with Lewis Stone in the starring role of the underworld leader. This sensational story of the newspaper world was directed by George Melford, and is reported to be one of the greatest pictures of the press ever filmed. Marceline Day and Malcolm McGregor head the stellar supporting cast, in which Henry B. Walthall also plays a prominent role. A group of former newspaper men were in complete charge of all the details and important features in the filming of "Freedom of the Press." (Times)
Lewis Stone and Marceline Day in "Freedom of the Press" pleased good sized audiences at the American Theatre. (Motion Picture News)
A fine adaptation of Peter B. Kyne's story, ''Freedom of the Press" depicts the battle between the press and a desperate underworld gang. Lewis Store, well known for his excellent characterizations, plays the part of Daniel Steele, the leader of the underworld. Desperate scenes ensue before the unscrupulous gang is brought to justice. Realistic and interesting are the glimpses of the giant presses and the busy, feverish life of a modern newspaper. Marceline Day plays admirably the part of Steele's ward. (The Register)
Click to enlarge:
Marceline Day and Malcolm McGregor in a Spanish language poster