Top notch suspense as Crawford gambles that he can keep his cool and get away with it, even as the walls close in and the odds look worse and worse. That consistent connection probably is best explained by an element of fate. As McClearly is joined by feature writer Julie Allison , and they begin to dig deeper, the noose begins to tighten around Chapman's neck. But ultimately these are not the key strengths of Karlson's film, it is with the characterisation of Chapman and the themes within where the pic hits its straps. . The movie as it stands is a very fine newspaper film noir with some great twists that do more than just create suspense; they create a powerful and moving psychological dynamic.
This is unlike her other screen work. Excellent cast, including Crawford, handsome John Derek, intelligent beautiful, Donna Reed. Description 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. He does a reasonably successful job of making it look like an accident, but not good enough to fool McCleary. The cast features Academy Award winners Broderick Crawford All the King's Men and Donna Reed From Here to Eternity with John Derek Knock on Any Door. The tabloid editor slowly being condemned by his own protégé suggests an absurd justice rules noir territory, especially considering the newspaper readership boost that results from Chapman's own criminal activity. Corruption gives way to paranoia and betrayals, with the New York backdrop a knowing accomplice.
Because it was saying something genuine and urgent and even universal about America in the postwar years, the genre's shadowy fatalism, rich racetrack patter and character archetypes still leaves heelmarks on our consciousness. The paper's brand of journalism has been altered so unrecognizably that onetime Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Barnes Henry O'Neill has been reduced to a pathetic drunkard, abandoned to the company of the city's wastrels. Meanwhile, the paper's star reporter Steve McClearly begins investigating the unsolved murder. Coupled with the fact that it is his protégé Steve McCleary Derek who is the hungry reporter on the case, then it's a minefield of carrot dangling suspense and intrigue. Karlson was a pro and this is the sort of material he relished.
Indeed some of my favorite film noirs involve a protagonist who falls into a trap of his own making. He telephones Allison and McCleary, but McCleary thinks that Barnes is too drunk and is calling in a phony story. But apart from a bit of tough discussion of the public's avid taste for thrills and chills and a few dubious hints at tabloid techniques, there is nothing very shocking in this film. Before he can do so, Charlie Barnes, a former -winning reporter for the Express who has become , stumbles upon him. Mark Chapman, through a wicked turn of noir fate, finds himself as the figure most sought after in the manhunt headlines he sanctions at the newspaper he runs! Julie Allison Donna Reed had worked on the paper before Chapman took over.
In the film, Broderick Crawford's Mark Chapman is the New York Express's bulldog editor, pulling the daily out of its economic doldrums with lurid front pages and invented news; John Derek's Steve McCleary is his amoral star reporter, the two of them heading a newsroom that has only Donna Reed's Julie Allison to recommend it in the way of moral compunction and compassion. One crime almost always begets more crime in the film noir, as the embattled protagonist cannot stop digging when he finds himself in a deep hole. I stopped everything and could not stop watching till the end I wont tell you what happens. When her body is discovered, the paper's star reporter, Steve McClearly , begins investigating what has been determined to be a murder. Scandal Sheet is included in the Columbia Samuel Fuller Collection but Fuller himself was not actively involved in the making of the film. When a possible witness turns up, things get complicated. Thee is a delicious little irony in the way that Chapman finally breaks the 750,000 barrier.
Still, it boils over with his storytelling energy and his signature reflex, the urge to discover, expressionistically, the painful, hard-boiled reality as he knew it within the movie universe of Golden Age Hollywood. Crawford plays a ruthless tabloid newspaper editor who has the tables turned on him when he commits a crime, then finds himself having to encourage his top reporter to get to the bottom of the story, in order to deflect suspicion. Chapman and McCleary are like father and son but McCleary will not rest until he finds the murderer. The owners have promised him a huge bonus if he can lift the circulation above 750,000, a figure that would have seemed an impossible dream when Chapman took over the paper but that now seems eminently achievable. This is a great little movie that deserves to be better known.
The novel was The Dark Page, published in 1944 while Fuller was serving in the armed forces. Fuller wrote the novel which formed the basis of Scandal Sheet, with Ted Sherdeman Them! Fuller was, of course, Fuller, the most notorious idiosyncratic-pulpster of the postwar age, an unstoppable creative force whose particular view of the world was a vulgar, cynical mashup between first-hand realism no American filmmaker knew the actualities of tabloid journalism, ground warfare and the criminal sector as well and outrageous pop-cinema hyperbole. Reed and Derek play the junior reporters on the paper who clash over the new editorial policy, but finally work together to solve a murder. Karlson and Fuller were reigning warriors in this vein: director Karlson was a no-nonsense journeyman who with Scandal Sheet, Kansas City Confidential 1952 , 99 River Street 1953 and The Phenix City Story 1955 perfected a confrontational, violent, subtlety-immune noir style in which the world, not merely the individuals stuck in it, seemed to be on the edge of social upheaval. Having moved on from the relationship better than she has, these days Chapman is the unapologetic executive editor of the New York Express, a once respected news publication he converted into a far more financially viable tabloid operation. Chapman gives Barnes a cash handout; accidentally included with the money is the receipt.
Stars Broderick Crawford and Donna Reed. Crawford is at his no-nonsense, take no prisoners, mince-no-words best, and able support from a young John Derek and Donna Reed smoking cigarettes and a little less squeaky clean than usual. She threatens to expose him as a wife-deserter, wife-beater and an impostor, and, in anger, he pushes her and accidentally kills her. The two physically fight and he accidentally kills her, then tries to cover it up. Producer: Edward Small Director: Phil Karlson Screenplay: Eugene Ling, James Poe, Ted Sherdeman, Samuel Fuller novel Cinematography: Burnett Guffey Film Editing: Jerome Thoms Art Direction: Robert Peterson Music: George Duning Cast: John Derek Steve McCleary , Donna Reed Julie Allison , Broderick Crawford Mark Chapman , Rosemary DeCamp Charlotte Grant , Henry O'Neill Charlie Barnes , Harry Morgan Biddle.
It would have been fascinating to see what Hawks would have done with this story but Karlson does a fine job. Chapman hears about Barnes going to the Daily Leader, waits for him near the newspaper's headquarters, then accosts and kills him. There are those who think this movie would have been even better had Fuller directed it himself. Scandal Sheet is directed by Phil Karlson and adapted to screenplay by Eugene Ling, James Pope and Ted Sherdeman from the novel The Dark Page written by Samuel Fuller. However, when a face from his past turns up it leads to an event that sees Chapman himself in the headlines. John Derek is very good as McCleary who is esentially a younger of Mark Chapma. The set-up itself is nearly autobiographical: Fuller used to work on the New York Graphic, a screaming-mimi, truth-manipulating exploitative tabloid on Park Row that makes the contemporary New York Post look like The London Review of Books.
They bring this judge back to the Express, who identifies Chapman as the groom, but under a different name. Henry O'Neill is great as a washed-up old drunk who used to work for Crawford's newspaper. McCleary is obviously in love with her but is too busy proving himself as a reporter to realise how strong his own feelings are. Of course, part of noir's allure lies with its reputation as a school of films that arose naturally out of our cultural anxieties, not out of a Hollywood marketing ploy. The delving into the workings of big city newspaper is given credible thought that would be Fuller given his own newspaper background , offering up the seedy side whilst nailing the hustle and bustle going on behind the scenes. Here, the systems themselves industry, community, the law, the mob, the press were rotten from the inside.