Who was Joseph Pulitzer? A Novel
ADVENTURE EPIC DRAMA BIOGRAPHICAL
RISE TO GLORY
19th Century,Earlier 20th Century
THE POST, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN
• JOSEPH PULITZER: STARTING AT 18 M, INTELLIGENT HUNGARIAN, JEWISH, INVESTIGATIVE, DETERMINED, PASSIONATE
• DAVIDSON AND SCHURZ: 30S M -- PROTAGONIST'S MENTORS, UNDERSTANDING, INSIGHTFUL
• HEARST: CHIEF OF THE JOURNAL NEWSPAPER, VINDICTIVE, CLEVER, SON OF EXTREME WEALTH
• DANA: CHIEF OF THE SUN NEWSPAPER, CUNNING, HUNGRY, HARD-WORKING
Immigrant overcomes poverty and Antisemitism to change newspapers and confront the powers that be of the Gilded Age.
Target Gender: Universal
St. Louis, New York City
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: self-published
Year Published: 2016
Pulitzer, a recent Hungarian immigrant and newspaper reporter, suffers Antisemitism from his colleagues on the way to a meeting with a significant confrontation with one of his enemies.
Pulitzer's death represents the passing of a man who had made himself a giant in the history of American journalism, as a man who rose from nothing to revolutionize the structure of newspapers across the globe.
Information not completed
Hard Copy Available
Mature Audience Themes
Information not completed
Plot - Other Elements
Coming of Age,,Meaningful Message
Plot - Premise
Rags to Riches,,Overcoming Monster/Villain,Quest
Main Character Details
Name: Joseph Pulitzer was a Hungarian immigrant who was a workaholic who was the first major journalist to push the progressive agenda, and assault the injustices of the Gilded Age.
Key Traits: Adventurous, Aggressive, Aspiring, Visionary, Educated, Leader, Lone Wolf, Outspoken,Aspiring,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Flexible,Educated,Leader,Lone Wolf,Sophisticated,Secretive,Sarcastic,Visionary,Power Hungry
Additional Character Details
Name: William Randolph Hearst- creator of a news empire
Key Traits: Aspiring, Complex, Confident, Extraordinary Powers and Abilities, Flexible, Leader, Aggressive,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Leader,Sophisticated,Visionary,Power Hungry,Blunt
Additional Character Details
Name: Kate Pulitzer- Pulitzer's wife
Key Traits: Empathetic, Faithful, Beautiful, Charming,Aspiring,Complex,Faithful,Gracious,Seductive,Modest
Additional Character Details
Name: James Gordon Bennett- editor and owner of The Herald
Key Traits: Adventurous, Aggressive, Aspiring, Badass
Joseph Pulitzer, famous to most all Americans because of the prizes, is an excellent choice for this character study of a man who is a towering figure in the history of American journalism. His almost impossible transition from a dirt poor immigrant to newspaper magnate shows him overcoming poverty and Antisemitism in fighting the gross injustices of the Gilded Age. He was not without personal problems, as his Napoleonic addiction to work made his charming wife a newspaper widow, and his twelve hour work days eventually led to health problems that crippled his ability to work. He overcame this, too, as best he could, and continued to dominate the newspaper coverage to mass audiences that his competitors had not previously considered to be even a possibility.
SUSPENSE, DRAMA, POLITICS, WAR, RELIGION
Hungarian Joseph Pulitzer arrives in America hoping to fight and make a name for himself in Civil War New York. Instead he builds a career as a journalist and voracious reader. It brings him to the height of newspaper readership, and in the end, even when his health is gone, he still fights tooth and nail against the President of the United States in the Supreme Court.
Authors Writing Style: GOOD
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
The book Profile is accurate. There is no information for Mature Themes, for which there are none.
Draw of Story
The rags to riches story is always appealing. There is a strong sense of self-preservation in Pulitzer's life as an English learner turned literary magnet. It is impressive that a man can ascend so high in light of all the barriers stopping him--from his Jewish Hungarian heritage to his newfound grasp of English and American philosophy.
The book's relationships feel well-fleshed out in the context of historical accuracy, but they are not a big narrative driver. Pulitzer alone is the interesting case study, and his next best support is the minor character Nellie Bly. As much as this story focuses on Pulitzer's own draw for sensationalist stories, it reigns much of that drama in among its own chapters. There is a lot to be said about the rivalries, which are definitely the meat of the story, but it felt that by the end, with Dana out of the way, and Hearst all but having won the newspaper war, that Pulitzer ran out of gas. For an adaptation, it would be good to make note of how that happened, and use the Supreme Court case with Pres. Roosevelt as a backdrop rather than the main focus of the third act.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
A Jewish immigrant with little grasp of the English language becomes the head of the largest selling newspaper in New York. It is a story of rising to greatness, and many will be inspired to make a brand for themselves just as Pulitzer did with his newspapers.
This property has a creative nonfiction and historical bent to it that will not draw the same crowds as a summer action film. There is surely an audience in the 30+ demographics, but there is a chance that the story will only appeal to more educated crowds.
There is certainly award potential for a historical drama such as this. Just in the way that The Post (2017) captured some of the spotlight, this literary battle of the greats in New York is likely to turn some heads in the upper echelons.
Similar Films/TV Series
THE POST (2017), ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976)
What’s New About the Story
As far as historical nonfiction goes, it is a seemingly true-to-tale retelling. Some events are clearly embellished and the dialogue is invented, but there is nothing that screams out as wildly inventive. That in mind, it is a strong candidate for literary history fans and could gain some award notoriety in the process.
Pulitzer is hardworking, inventive and truly a visionary. He is a man with no where to go but up, and he has that confidence from the very beginning. Joseph Pulitzer is a testament to what self-belief can accomplish.
Uniqueness of Story
I would say this is a strong candidate for a director/producer with some creative nonfiction experience and a bent for history. There is drama to be sucked from the bones of this story that Crimmins has just started to get at by the end of the story. There is a feeling of repetition that wanes the reader's interest over time, but the shortened cinematic time-frame could be enough to push this story into a higher gear.
Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio
The story is strong and there is plenty of fire to boost interest in a Hungarian Jewish man that many people have never heard of. If there is anything slowing this story down it is previous interpretations, such as the 1hr 25min piece done on Joseph Pulitzer in early 2019. For those interested in adapting this story, focus on the dramatic elements and allow the enigma of Joseph Pulitzer's legacy to be the guiding force, rather than the man himself.
Young Jewish Hungarian Joseph Pulitzer comes to America to fight, but ends up down a different path. Quickly mastering English and attaining a law degree through his voracious reading habits, Pulitzer skips from job to job in Post Civil War America until he is picked up as a newspaper reporter. He is a cunning natural and he finds himself in control of his first newspaper when his mentor moves to New York. After marrying and growing too large for St. Louis, he moves to New York to fight with the big boys in newspaper publishing. He never gives up the fight, not even in the face of the President Roosevelt and US Supreme Court.
What We Liked
- The story of Pulitzer's life sells itself, and there is a great deal of drama with famous characters in history that are well-known, such as President Roosevelt and President Cleveland.
- There are several strong angles to capture the story from that extend beyond the paper to Pulitzer's life itself, his image, and his no-holds-barred approach to achievement that will be inspiring to all viewers.
- This film can be a mirror of Pulitzer's own philosophy: get people in the door with a catchy title and teach them a thing or two about history along the way.
- Key points: Coming of Age, Rags to Riches, Self-Made Icon, Achievement through Perseverance, Immigrant's Success Story
Young Jewish Hungarian Joseph Pulitzer flees Hungary when his mom remarries and he disapproves. After trying and failing at first to get into the army, he eventually succeeds in landing a cavalry position that puts him in New York during the Civil War.
He doesn't see much fighting after nearly getting booted for slapping a higher officer, and when the war is over he continues his streak of bad luck for several years.
Eventually his luck turns and he is hired to do journalism in St. Louis for his mentors, Schurz and Davidson.
He is a natural and he uses newfound sensationalist writing charms to pull people in and teach them at the same time.
His rise increases when he buys the paper off Schurz who is headed to New York. He marries his partner Kate Davis and his life is thrust into the upper crust of St. Louis life while he battles to improve readership of his paper.
His tactics improve sales, but ostracize his family from high and low society, so he buys the World newspaper off a man he hates, Jay Gould, and moves to New York.
There his progress is just as astronomical. He turns the paper on its head and takes his flash headlines and intellectual editorials and steals readership from the Herald, The Sun and the Journal.
The chiefs and owners of each paper are furious. They attack his heritage, his religion and his business but they don't succeed in slowing him down.
When health gets in the way and leaves him nearly blind, he starts running the paper remotely. At this point he has influenced governors and presidents, and he has decided to go after President Roosevelt for his cavalier dealings in Panama.
It lands him in the Supreme Court, where his lawyer background shines through and he defends himself and his paper against the highest office in the land.