Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Broderick Crawford, Donna Reed, John Derek, Rosemary DeCamp, Henry O’Neill
Director: Phil Karlson
Release Date: 16 January 1952
Length: 82 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: TV
My Rating: 3/5 stars
“New York tabloid editor Mark Chapman (Broderick Crawford) organizes a Lonely Hearts ball to sell more papers, but is shocked when he meets the wife (Rosemary DeCamp) he abandoned years ago. When she threatens to expose his dubious past, Chapman accidentally kills her. Ace reporter Steve McCleary (John Derek) starts looking into the case, and Chapman is forced to put the exciting story on the front page while secretly trying to hinder the investigation.” — Netflix.com
I surprised myself a bit in watching this movie as I don’t typically watch films that are mainly about reporters, especially when they are tabloid reporters. Still, I decided to watch this one and I was glad I did as the story was pretty good. In this instance, having a couple of tabloid reporters who will stop at nothing to get the story is a good thing as the murderer is actually their boss! It was interesting to watch what the villain was trying to do to keep the truth from being discovered. He tried to squash the story, but he had taught his lead reporter too well and could not keep him off of the case. Watching Broderick Crawford sweat it out and try to find a way to keep everything he had obtained before his past caught up with him was the best part of the film for me.
I was not familiar with the actor who played the lead reporter, John Derek, but he was very handsome. He also managed to pull off being the top reporter with a kind of cocky brashness that took a beating when the truth was finally revealed. Donna Reed was quite lovely as a features reporter who was having a tough time adjusting to working on a tabloid newspaper. She never really took to the new editor and clearly showed this in the way she acted toward him. The editor, Broderick Crawford, did a really good job in his role as a very unlikeable character who was desperate to hide what he had done. I also liked the old drunk Charlie (Henry O’Neill). He was an alcoholic who used to be a top reporter, but I guess you cannot take the reporter out of the man no matter what happens.
This is a good mystery, but not in the traditional sense. You don’t have to guess who the villain is as you see the killer and how it happens at the beginning of the movie. Usually this really takes away from my enjoyment of the movie, but not this time. Instead, it was kind of interesting to see what a killer would do to hide his crime, especially when he was not willing to leave town to save his hide. This old black-and-white “thriller” is nothing special, but it is enjoyable and interesting. I am glad that I got a chance to catch this on TV.
This movie shows a murder taking place in pretty general terms. Multiple murders are discussed and details printed or reviewed. There are policemen and an M.E. who weigh in on the cases. Still, there are no gory details shown or discussed so it is much tamer than most of what you would catch on TV these days. There are several scenes that show drinking and several old drunk men who are clearly smashed. Appropriate for ages 6 and up, recommended for ages 10 and up.