A Dispatch from Reuters is a typically robust and entertaining 1940 Warner Bros biopic of the pioneer who founded the news agency Reuters, starting in the 1830s when Julius Reuter used carrier pigeons to transmit news across a Europe still not equipped with the new telegraph system.
Milton Krims’s screenplay (from a story by Valentine Williams and Wolfgang Wilhelm) is occasionally stodgy and pompous, and director William Dieterle’s handling lacks pace and bite. But a reined-in Edward G Robinson is clearly enjoying himself, ideally cast in the star role. Edna Best plays Mrs Ida Reuter and Dickie Moore plays the great man as a boy.
A gilt-edged support cast fills in some of the gaps: Eddie Albert, Albert Basserman [Bassermann], Gene Lockhart, Otto Kruger, Montagu Love, Nigel Bruce, James Stephenson, Walter Kingsford as Napoleon III, David Bruce, Billy Dawson, Lumsden Hare, Alex Craig, Egon Brecher, Gilbert Emery and Robert Warwick.
And the movie has the advantage of telling a little-known story and it comes up with a strong finish about Reuter’s scoop at Lincoln’s assassination. James Wong Howe’s black and white images and Max Steiner’s score are other strong advantages.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4247
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