Scandal Sheet (1952) Phil Karlson
I believe there’s no such thing as too much Phil Karlson, so I proudly present Scandal Sheet for your Noirvember viewing pleasure. Broderick Crawford (who previously appeared in The Mob) stars as Mark Chapman, a no-nonsense newspaper man who has taken over the slagging New York Express and – much to the chagrin of the paper’s Board of Directors – turned it into a tabloid sensation.
One of Chapman’s up-and-coming reporters Steve McCleary (John Derek) discovers a mystery woman who’s been murdered at a Lonely Hearts Club event sponsored by Chapman and the Express. Normally Chapman would be delighted at the scandalous news prospect, but he’s the one who actually killed the woman, the wife (Rosemary DeCamp) he abandoned 20 years earlier. McCleary comes to Chapman with the story, but how can Chapman keep McCleary from investigating the type of story that could make the paper red-hot without putting himself in jeopardy?
Scandal Sheet takes the same basic premise from The Big Clock (1948), the story of another publisher (Charles Laughton) who tries to cover up a murder. The Big Clock is the better film, but Broderick Crawford as Chapman has more opportunities to sweat it out and face capture. The suspense is excellent as is Crawford, Donna Reed, Harry Morgan, Rosemary DeCamp, and Henry O’Neill as a down-and-out alcoholic former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter trying to make a comeback. The only weak link in the film is John Derek as the eager reporter. Keep an eye out for an uncredited Strother Martin playing a man on crutches.
Next: Two French journalists look for a missing diplomat in New York City.
Photos: The Girl with the White Parasol, Brandon’s Movie Memory