5 November 2005 | zippgun
Hard hitting,sadly short lived newspaper drama.
Nick Adams followed his successful western series "The Rebel" with this barely remembered show concerning the dramas of city life,as seen by the the employees of a big New York newspaper."Saints and Sinners" was a "spin off" like "Burke's law",from an episode of the anthology series "The Dick Powell show/Theater". Much less popular than Captain Burke's glossy light toned adventures, the gritty "Saints and Sinners" lasted a mere 18 episodes. Adams played Nick Alexander, young star reporter for the "New York Bulletin". Nick's heart is in the right place, but his crusading impetuosity needs to be tempered at times by his mentor, wise, kindly, but authoritative editor,Mark Grainger,played by John Larkin. This is a very good series, well written and directed,and often superbly played. Executive producer Adrian Spies had been a newspaperman, which helped get the detail right on the show. Nick Adams is a revelation here, giving heartfelt full-blooded performances, and is thoroughly convincing. Alexander, a workaholic 24 hour a day news man, is not a natural conformist,and that "rebel" streak in him provides the beef to many of the most interesting elements in the stories.He is highly strung and has a very short fuse,gets emotionally involved with the people in his stories, something Grainger often tries to counsel against. Richard Erdman is featured as Klugie,the staff photographer.
The stories are of moral dilemmas,the themes are serious and adult("The Rebel" was often unusually cerebral for a western too)involving an array of acting talent in guest roles,including Paul Muni,who makes his final screen appearance in the episode "A shame for the Diamond wedding"."The year Joan Crawford won the Oscar" features a singer,played by Robert Lansing, so obviously modeled on Frank Sinatra, one is surprised they got away with it! One of my favorite episodes, which explores some very complex moral issues is "Judith was a lady". Here Grainger and Alexander set out to dig into the past of a dead woman,to try to show she was loose living(get the dirt on her in other words!),in order to stave off an expensive lawsuit by the woman's husband, who is angered about insinuations about her that had been made in the "Bulletin"."Night of horns and bells" is a tour de force of ensemble acting, as inexperienced Alexander is forced to take the editor's chair during the absence of Grainger and his deputy on new years eve, having to cope with the myriad problems which arise in the job on such a night,as well as placate an irate girlfriend he has had to let down because of the emergency. Sadly both the leads in the series were to die prematurely within a few years. Larkin was 52 and starring in "12 O'clock high" in 1965 when felled by a heart attack.In 1968 Adams died from a drug overdose at 36, in somewhat mysterious circumstances.