29 June 2001 | Snow Leopard
Not Bad For A Low-Budget Melodrama
For a low-budget melodrama, "Underworld Scandal" (also called "Big Town Scandal") is not too bad. While the plot lacks credibility and is mostly predictable, the characters and acting are at least adequate, and the story has a positive message that, while a little forced, comes across reasonably well.
The story begins with a group of youths caught breaking into a store. As a judge is about to send them all to reform school, a pair of popular journalists volunteer to take custody of them. To keep them occupied, they organize them into a basketball team, which turns out to be a very good one. But while the rest of the boys make good use of their opportunity to put the past behind them, one of the boys is still secretly involved with some dangerous characters and activities. The situation leads to several melodramatic incidents, and finally a conclusion that, while not especially credible, is dramatic. An interesting historical feature is that along the way there are a fair number of basketball scenes, which show how differently that sport was played in the 1940's.
While this is a movie without a lot of strengths, all that it really pretends to do is show the importance of giving kids a second chance, and it does make that point reasonably well. On that level, it's not bad at all.