DVD Review

“Wet Asphalt”

By Marcus Pan

Wet AsphaltFrom the “lost noir” category of Dark Sky Films’ new releases, Wet Asphalt portrays the story of prison releasee Greg Bachmann (Horst Buchholz). An early release prompted by Cesar Boyd (Martin Held), mogul oldster reporter of the day, places Bachmann as personal assistant and helpful reporter protégé to the older mogul. During the course of his work, in an effort to build sensationalism for his stories, Boyd makes the grave error of developing a story not from a news source, but his mind.

The result resembles something you’d see during the Telephone Game – where you’d tell a story at one end of a chain of people and by the time it reaches the others at the end of the line it’s been extremely exaggerated. The creation of this story, which ends up in a Parisian newspaper on the weekend, builds to include other reporters picking up the idea. This leads other reporters to add new details, to the point where the governments of multiple nations are attempting to safeguard against a possible international event.

During the course of young Greg’s investigation into this story he helped Boyd write up, he is lead to the discovery of the story’s initial fabrication. Being an honest type, the idea of concocting a story for mere sensationalism and passing it off as “news” terribly upsets Bachmann. Watching the story take on a life of it’s own, build to a crescendo and result in people being hurt through riots and demonstrations, with Boyd not showing the least bit of remorse for it, sends Bachman over the edge. The result is his quest to expose the fallacy of the story.

The movie brings forward many ideas and questions concerning media and its practices and those morals still stand and should be practiced as much today as it was back when this movie came out – 1958. That helps the movie remain timeless, as it echoes an ideal that has been wrestled with for many years and since newsmen have begun to write about the world at large.

The audio track was a bit off, but this is to be expected when you’re dealing with a film nearly a half century old. Other than that, the movie stands as a good example of the genre and asks some very important questions about truthfulness in news media and sources. Somebody send a copy of this to CNN and all the other news programs as a reminder.

Contact Information:
Dark Sky Films
Post: MPI Media Group, 16101 S 108th Ave., Orland Park, IL, 60467, USA

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