4 January 2020 | boblipton
Not Your Standard Newspaper Movie
When the newspaper owner dies, his widow takes over, determining the paper will be run on strict, moral lines. Her first step is to fire managing editor Hugh Williams and replace him with Walter Hund. Williams fumbles around a bit, and eventually lands a job on a competing paper. At this point, gossip columnist Hy Hazell finds that her tenant is dead with his throat cut.
It's a most peculiar murder mystery, in that most of it is about the newspaper industry and the people who work in it, their relationships and habits. It's certainly not a new approach, but it doesn't have the stereotyped characters who make up the traditional newspaper mystery movies. Instead, it's full of disagreeable sorts, like interfering publishers, whining lawyers, reporters who get drunk after the work day is over, reporters who get their facts wrong... basically a human enterprise filled with realistic humans. It's also filled with some fine actors in minor roles, like Garry Marsh, Sid James, and Vida Hope. People behave like people... or at least they behave in ways other than the usual movie stereotypes.
Director Roy Ward Baker certainly keeps things clattering along. Even the small parts, played by actors who never became household names get their chance to show there are no small parts, only short ones: when the camera is focused on you, you're the star.
And that's how you make a superior movie.