THE ADVENTURES OF NELLIE BLY
US, 1981, 100 minutes, Colour.
Linda Purl, Gene Barry, J.D. Cannon, John Randolph.
Directed by Henning Schelerup.
The Adventures of Nellie Bly is a Sunn Classic and the opening illustrates the tone linking the story of the pioneer reporter with various classic characters of fact and fiction in America. The treatment is of the Reader's Digest type aimed at a wide popular level without too serious a treatment. n this level, the film looks very good, is well acted and is interesting and entertaining. Linda Purl gives a very good performance and receives solid support from character actors. The sets, decor, costumes are excellent.
1. The treatment of the subject in the Reader's Digest, Sunn Classic style? Effect on the broad television audience? A piece of Americana? Period, social background, feminist issues? A popular piece of entertainment?
2. The impact of the telemovie: characters and situations for the home audience? The commercial breaks and suspense, interest? A stylish telemovie?
3. The opening: the journalist and her wanting to interview President Wilson? Her encounter with his secretary? His nostalgically telling the story of Nellie Bly? Her response ? and meeting Nelly at the end? Nelly's vigour in pursuing her career? A popular success and an inspiration for journalists and, especially, for women?
4. Nellie at the start: country girl, the apartment, her lack of money, her articles and her pushing them at the paper, getting in to see the editor, her charm with his assistant, with Pulitzer? The introduction of the feminist theme and feminist oppression?
5. The sketch of the editor and his toughness, Pulitzer and his ideals? The reputation of the paper and Nellie's onslaught? There listening to her criticisms? The various stories she supplied? The exposes? The dangers and the people that she helped? The awakening of the newspaper readership to 19th. century problems? The influence on 20th. century journalism?
6. Nellie as a charming young girl, tough? Her initial clashes? The support of her landlady? The experience of the fire, interviewing those who escaped? Her examining of the situation, writing the article, getting all the details? The newspaper's use of it and rejection of her? Her decision to experience the problems? Getting the job at the factory, the hard work, the sweat, the lack of facilities, fellow workers? The tyrant overseer? The long hours and the damp? Her becoming a dancer and experiencing the harshness of the routines and the rehearsals? The migrant situation, the racket in taking off innocent girls and setting them up as prostitutes? Her taking on the boss of the rackets? Assassination attempts? Her preoccupation about her friend's sister, the boss' wife and her disappearance? Getting herself certified and her techniques in pretending that she was insane? Her experiences in the asylum, the dangers, her investigations, the chases and her freeing the women? A woman of courage and achievement?
7. The background of the factories and the oppression of the workers? The food and lack of facilities? The toughness of the dance halls? The exploitation of the migrants? The ugliness of the asylums? Typical of social oppression of the time?
8. The effect on the editor's assistant, his responsibility for Nellie and his support of her? Sharing her experiences? His concern?
9. The New York boss and his style, the rackets, his wife and the deal with the wardress at the asylum? The assassination attempts? The encounter at the theatre? The final confrontation and his arrest?
10. The realities of the dangers - dealing with racketeers and violence? The compensation with Nelly's helping the girl and rescuing her sister? Rescuing the boss' wife?