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On trial for murdering his girlfriend, philandering stockbroker Larry Ballentine takes the stand to claim his innocence and describe the actual, but improbable sounding, sequence of events that led to her death.
The editor of a New York exploitation newspaper meets the wife he had abandoned years ago, while using another name, at a Lonely Hearts ball sponsored by his newspaper. She threatens to expose him as a wife-deserter, wife-beater and an impostor, and, in anger, he pushes her and accidentally kills her. Later, when her body is found, he assigns his protégé reporter to the story, as a good, exploitable follow-up story to the ball. And, then, he is forced to sit back and watch while the reporter slowly tracks down the killer.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Broderick Crawford is first rate, and the plot sensational enough to make this B-movie squeak by
Scandal Sheet (1952)
A second rate crime drama with noir overtones. It's a formula picture, really, but it's a great formula, and the twist here is that the editor of the paper, not just the reporter, is part of the main story. He's played by the loud, gutsy, and very convincing Broderick Crawford (known for All the Kings Men), and Crawford really holds it all together. Donna Reed is her usual slightly stiff self, I've never quite gotten her appeal, but she's the other star (several years after It's a Wonderful Life) and she's not given much to do. As a reporter, she isn't really allowed to investigate or do anything, just complain a lot.
And this is the writer's fault. The story is based on a Sam Fuller novel. Yes Sam Fuller the renegade director, drawn to unsophisticated potboilers told with bold directness. But he didn't direct here, and as a novelist he goes for big and not always convincing effects. It's maybe amazing that director Phil Karlson, a B-movie specialist at best, pulled this off so well. It's fun, it's got some small moments where people shine, and it has Crawford playing a more subtle role than usual, and doing it very well.
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