- 1h 21min
In an effort to improve the circulation of his notorious scandal magazine, unscrupulous owner, editor and publisher H. R. Manley spares nobody.In an effort to improve the circulation of his notorious scandal magazine, unscrupulous owner, editor and publisher H. R. Manley spares nobody.In an effort to improve the circulation of his notorious scandal magazine, unscrupulous owner, editor and publisher H. R. Manley spares nobody.
Steve Cochran, generally an inarticulate brute in films, here plays the slick, debonair owner of a notorious gossip magazine who is anxious to break a big scandal to reverse a recent decline in sales. He zeroes in on children's entertainer Van Johnson, a decent, stand-up guy who nonetheless has a secret in his past which would most likely end his suddenly flourishing television career if found out. Johnson can save himself and his family from disrepute if he "trades" Cochran damaging information he has about a popular movie actress he knew while growing up in a tough neighborhood years ago.
The movie chronicles this moral dilemma in a balanced, intelligent way, methodically laying the emotional and intellectual groundwork for the difficult choices the major characters end up making. It's one of those nifty little flicks that reminds one of some efficient piece of machinery - no wasted motion.
Cochran once again is excellent. His technique is exceptional, unerring. He's got this guy, a bullying, insecure poser, down. Watch the scene in the restaurant where he finds out that he's being bumped from a TV talk show due to a fellow guest's refusal to appear on the same program with him. Just before the steely resignation and the business-like thirst for payback, he's hurt, like a little boy who finds out he hasn't made first team. Johnson and Blyth are appealing as the devoted husband and wife, as is the child actor Richard Eyer, who plays their son.
But special mention has to go to the great Marjorie Rambeau, sort of a Susan Sarandon type in her younger days, here she plays Cochran's weary, alcoholic, deeply ashamed mother. Her impossibly large, sad, soulful eyes aptly foreshadow the tragedies that follow.
- Dec 15, 2000