4 February 2006 | sol1218
That was the end of a beautiful friendship
(There are Spoilers) "Scandal Sheet" really goes deep into how big money can corrupt even the best of friends. Especially where it's used by the likes of a clever and manipulating sleaze ball like the publisher and editor of the scandal sheet "Inside World" Harold Fallan, Burt Lancaster.
Trying to get an inside story about actor Ben Rowan, Robert Urich, we see how those who work for Fallen do their jobs at the beginning of the movie. Catching the troubled actor at an unguarded moment, coming out an drug & alcohol rehabilitation center, Ben is so upset by Fallan's vultures, his reporters and photographers, setting him up to make him look like he's still drunk that he almost ends up back in the tank for attacking the pasty and obnoxious "Inside World" employees.
Fallen learns that Helen Grant, Pamela Reed, is having trouble at the New York City news magazine "Lifestyle" and starts to go to work on her by pressuring a money strapped Helen to move to the west coast, all expensive paid in order to work for his rag at a starting salary of $80,000.00. It soon becomes obvious why Fallen is so interested in Helen to work for him; she's a very close friend of both actor Ben Rowen and his wife Meg, Lauren Hutton. Fallan feels that Helen who knew and roomed with Meg back in college can get him the big story about Ben's secret life, due to him confiding in her, and then splash it all over the front page of his tabloid.
Not interested at first to work for Fallan's "Inside World" Helen falls for his pitch in letting her write only true stories for his magazine not the made up sleaze and garbage that's usually printed in it. Fallan also exploits Helen's, a single mom, concern in getting her son Bobby, Robert Jayne, into a safe and decent private school that her salary at "Inside World" can provide for him. Instead of the tough and dangerous public schools that he's forced to attend back in NYC.
It's not long before Helen realizes what Fallan want's from her; to betray her best friends Ben & Meg by getting the dirt on them after being accepted and taken into their confidence.
It's hard to watch "Scandal Sheet" since it has nothing in it that you can cling on to and give you, like the people in the movie, any hope for the end of the movie uplifting itself. "Scandal Sheet" has one of the most depressing endings I've ever seen.
Ben, who was a major film star, trying to get his life back together is given the leading role in a 25 million dollar motion picture after being off the screen for years due to his acute alcoholism. With those financing the film not being able to pay the high insurance premiums for the movie, because of Ben being in it, to start rolling Meg who's also staring in the movie gives up her entire salary,$800,000.00, to pay it.
It's when Helen is forced by Fallan and his sidekick Simon McKay, Peter Jurasik, to pick up the document of Meg's payment to keep her husband Ben in the film, which they paid off the studio secretary to give them a copy of, that she saw just how low Fallan & Co would go to get the big story and tore it up replacing it with a blank sheet of paper in protest.
Helen who was earlier thrown out of Ben and Meg's home when she innocently told them that she worked for Fallan's paper, which more then anything else drove Ben to drink, didn't quite realize the damage it did to both their lives with that document.
Helen trying to win back Ben & Meg friendship by refusing to have anything to do with a story that Fallan wanted her to do about Ben's inability to get work without the help of Meg has Fallan pull out his ace in the hole. With that Fallan reaches a low that even he didn't think he could achieve but it did the trick and brought Helen back under his control.
Fallan's paper in the end not only destroyed Ben's chances for a comeback in the movies but drove the depressed and sick man to have a fatal heart-attack with Meg left all alone and at the point of having an emotional collapse.
Helen herself has her self-respect and dignity ripped away from her and at the same time she's hated and despised by Meg who holds her, even more then the slimy Fallan, responsible for her husbands untimely death. With the front page story of Meg's payment of Ben's insurance policy which Fallan, falsely and maliciously, gave Helen credit for.
Trapped in Fallan's employment with no outside jobs or money available for Helen to pay her expenses as well as being cleverly put in debt to Fallan she had no choice but to play the whore for the big money she's paid. Helen is now willing to do everything, no matter how low down and sleazy, he demanded of her even to sneak into the church and photograph the body of Ben Rowan, as he lies in state, for Fallan's scandal sheets next front page story.